New AFC Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson believes that the squad needs freshening up and says that work on assembling his side for League Two must start “straight away.”
Jackson replaced Mark Bowen, who was only on a deal until the end of last season and ruled himself out of the managerial process after accepting a role higher up the football pyramid as Reading’s head of football operations, signed a two-year deal at Plough Lane on Monday.
Despite Jackson guiding the Addicks to League One safety after taking over from Nigel Adkins when the club were in the bottom four, the 39-year-old left Charlton Athletic just 14 days ago after owner Thomas Sandgaard decided to terminate his contract.
Wimbledon’s five-season stint in League One came to an end after they finished 23rd and ended the season without a win in 27 games in all competitions.
Jackson will be assisted by Terry Skiverton.
“It has been a mad 10 days,” Jackson told BBC Radio London after the announcement was made.
“I left Charlton a couple of weeks ago now. I went away, had a break, and then the club made contact with me while I was away.
“We arranged to meet up when I got back in the early part of last week. Things progressed quite quickly from there – it has happened really quickly.
“From me, it is a really exciting project. There is disappointment with this season ending in relegation, but the positivity is still around the place.
“The fact that they want to bounce back at the earliest possible opportunity aligns with my ambitions. I wouldn’t be sitting here as the AFC Wimbledon manager today if my ambitions as a young coach and manager weren’t matched by the football club.
“I was really impressed with everything that I heard.”
During his time as permanent manager of Charlton, Jackson recorded 10 wins, four draws and 13 defeats.
When asked what Wimbledon fans could expect from their new manager, Jackson said: “I want my team on the pitch to represent the type of player I was and the person and coach that I am.
“I like to think that I was wholehearted, full of energy and full of life, and I want my team to represent that.
“We will hopefully be playing high energy football – moving the ball quickly, playing attacking football and an attacking brand of play.
“There are some exciting, young players at the club who I know can do that. It is just about getting the right blend between youth and experience.
“They’re exciting young lads, but they need a little bit of help and a little bit of know-how as well on the pitch.”
The Dons have several players – Nesta Guinness-Walker, Dan Csoka, Ben Heneghan and Cheye Alexander – out of contract at the end of June, while top goalscorer from last season, Jack Rudoni, is also expected to leave the club for a record fee.
“Discussions with some players were already taking place, and I will now have a keen interest in those,” explained Jackson.
“We need to get to work really quickly. The squad does need freshening up – it is on the back of a disappointing season and a losing run, so I am really keen to freshen the place up.
“Myself and my staff coming in will do that, but some new faces around the place to help the ones who are already there is something that I am keen to do.
“You don’t want to get left behind in these windows – we need to get to work straight away and start trying to fill in the holes where I believe the squad needs help.”