Terry Brown has admitted plugging a leaky defence will be his number one priority as his new-look Wimbledon side take on Premier League new boys Reading this weekend.
Brown said his squad, which includes a string of new signings, returned “fit and sharp” for pre-season and claimed everyone would get 45 minutes in the club’s first pre-season friendly at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.
But, with his side conceding 78 goals last term, the third highest in League Two, the manager knows his team must do better – starting this weekend.
He said: “I spoke to Brian McDermott [the Reading manager]. He plans to ease his troops back into football. Reading will look to work us and we will get a good look at the squad.
“I won’t read too much into the result. They are a Premier League side. What we are looking to get out of the game is to concentrate on the defensive side.
“How we can work to stop Reading over-running us?
“We have got to get the defensive side right. We didn’t get that right last year. We have a real nice balance this year.”
Brown added the following games – including matches against Maidenhead, Bognor, Woking, Eastbourne, Preston North End, West Ham and Portsmouth – should allow him to see the whole squad.
He said: “Everyone will get 60 or 90 minutes. We have some games that are unwinnable and games where we can see what everyone can do.”
The Dons boss also said the “door was still open” for two centre halves to join the club.
Two defenders, one from New Zealand and one from Scotland, were expected to sign last week, but Brown now says he is in no rush and would not rule out looking around for a player out of contract or on loan.
“We are still trying to find the last two bits of the jigsaw. We need two centre halves, one senior and one younger. At the minute we are still a week or two away,” he said.
Below: Christian Jolley, Stacy Long, Louis Harris and Jack Midson model Dons’ new home kit.