By Luke Payne, Feature Writer
The goalkeeper edition got such a good reception that I just had to bring out the next article! This time I take a look at the right-backs that The Dons could potentially sign going into the new season.
Most Dons fans would probably like to see Tennai Watson back under contract, but this article will look at potential replacements should he choose to leave. If he does stay, then perhaps someone on this list could give him good competition for a spot in the starting XI. Either way, here are seven potential out of contract right-backs. Dons could look to sign:
1) Todd Kane
Just like last time, the first player on the list is probably wishful thinking. Todd Kane has never dropped as far as League Two, but the 29 year old has fallen out of favour at championship play-off finalists Coventry in recent times. He managed 9 league appearances for The Sky Blues before he was shipped out to Charlton on loan. Unfortunately he picked up a hamstring injury on his first appearance for the London side and only made a handful of cameo appearances towards the end of the season.
It’s highly unlikely that Kane will get another championship move but he may still draw attention from League One sides looking to bring in an experienced full-back. However, there’s always a chance that he slips through the net and a decent wage combined with the promise of a promotion push might just be enough to convince him to drop down to League Two.
2) Josh Emmanuel
Josh Emmanuel will be a popular man this summer after Grimsby announced he would leave the club just 6 months after signing from Hull. Since January, Emmanuel picked up 17 League Two appearances and 2 assists, helping to guide The Mariners to a respectable 11th placed finish. It’s been heavily suggested that the 25 year old is looking to climb the football pyramid again, having featured in multiple League One promotion campaigns such as 2017/18 Rotherham and 2020/21 Hull.
Emmanuel would be a very strong option if he could be convinced to stay in League Two for a little longer. His previous successes showcase his quality and Graham Alexander would welcome more proven winners in his MK Dons squad.
3) Mitch Clark
Some of you may remember that I suggested signing Mitch Clark back in January. He picked up 6 assists in 40 appearances for Accrington Stanley, an impressive return for a full-back of a relegated side. He has been released by the northern side following their relegation but it has nothing to do with his ability on the football pitch. The FA have charged Clark for allegedly placing 312 bets on football matches between 8th February 2022 and 10th March 2023.
Ivan Toney had less alleged betting breaches than that and received a lengthy ban from football as a result. If Clark’s ordeal goes the same way he could be out of the game for a long time. This means it’s highly unlikely that Alexander would sign him unless the charges are cleared and there’s very little suggestion of when such a decision will be reached. The 24 year old could be a quality signing if he’s proven to be innocent.
4) Kane Vincent-Young
This next full-back has a very recent promotion on his footballing CV. Kane Vincent-Young has been released by Ipswich having only made 18 league appearances for the second-placed League One side. At 27 years of age his list of clubs is very short. He started his career with Colchester and his initial breakthrough season came whilst Alex Gilbey was still at the Essex club.
Vincent-Young switched out League Two football for League One when he signed for Ipswich but he struggled to keep a place in the side due to injuries. A return to League Two football could help him reignite his career but keeping him fit could prove to be a tough ask.
5) George Williams
A man who needs no introduction but we’ll give him one anyway! George Williams is a familiar face at MK Dons having come through the academy before getting released and returning a few years later as a much more accomplished player. He made 142 appearances for The Dons between 2016 and 2021 before departing the club having lost his place in the squad to the likes of Regan Poole and Ethan Laird.
Now 30, Williams has plenty of League One experience having also featured for Barnsley, Bristol Rovers and Cambridge. He has incredible versatility and is able to play anywhere across the defence. This is in addition to his leadership qualities. Cambridge released him at the end of the season having made 29 league appearances so perhaps it’s time for the MK Dons 2016/17 player of the year to come home.
6) Sean Clare
Sean Clare’s release may have come as a surprise given the fact that he played 40 league games for Charlton in the 2022/23 season. The 26 year old has plenty of League One experience playing for the likes of Burton, Oxford and Gillingham in previous seasons in addition to a couple of seasons in Scotland with Hearts. It seems likely that he will get League One offers but perhaps he could be tempted by a promotion push down in League Two. It would also be a chance for him to re-unite with fellow Charlton released player Alex Gilbey.
7) Joel Senior
Joel Senior’s release was the big surprise when Carlisle announced their retained list following their promotion to League One. The 23 year old was starting to break through into Carlisle’s first team and started in all three of Carlisle’s play-off games but was released on the basis that there were other emerging talents already at the club.
Senior would be a higher risk option since he doesn’t have much football league experience but there is a lot of potential there. Dons would probably be one of his better offers if Alexander was to pursue Senior but with a play-off winners medal already to his name, he might be worth that gamble.
Special Mentions and the Verdict:
The choice for right-back is a difficult one. There are plenty of other good options including Jack Hunt who was released very recently from Sheffield Wednesday. It’s also entirely possible that Tennai Watson signs a new contract which could easily prevent a higher profile player from signing due to Watson’s quality. Josh Emmanuel would be the dream signing as he has proven success in the past as well as a good amount of experience. However, if Watson stays with The Dons then options like Kane Vincent-Young or Joel Senior become more appealing as it reduces that risk of signing them.
Thank you for reading the right-back edition of released and re-signed. Let us know what right-back you would like to see sign for the club and as always, keep your eyes peeled for the next article!