AFC Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson believes the initial friendlies announced for July provide a “good test” for his new side.
The Dons have four games scheduled for next month, with a trip to National League South side Eastbourne Borough followed up by three consecutive games at Plough Lane.
Jackson’s side, in the space of eight days, will face League One outfit Ipswich Town, Championship side Reading, and finish the pre-season off with a game against Karl Robinson’s Oxford United.
Robinson appointed Jackson as player-coach when he was Charlton Athletic manager in 2017.
“There are some really good games in there,” Jackson told the South London Press of the challenges he expects the friendlies to pose to his side.
“There are two teams in there that I know well from last season. Ipswich and Oxford will be good tests, with Championship opposition in there as well.
“They’re really good games that will set us up, and it’s a nice progression of the level, which is culminating in a final friendly against Oxford. They are a really good side and were knocking on the door of the League One play-offs last year – they will definitely be strong again.
“It’s obviously against a manager I know well, and it’s a good test for us – I’m happy.
“There are a couple more [friendlies] that we need to get into the agenda, but I’m really happy with the ones that we have got so far.”
The Dons have announced their first signing under Jackson this week, bringing in ex-Millwall captain Alex Pearce. The 33-year-old centre-back will add much needed experience and leadership to the squad.
When asked if he hoped to have the majority of his squad assembled for this set of friendlies to hit the ground running in League Two, Jackson said: “The earlier you can get your business done, the better. But obviously, it’s not always as easy as that.
“Some [signings] will naturally go in later than others. But the more you can get done early and have for the first day of pre-season – or certainly for when your friendlies start – if you have got the players you want in the building, it’s going to be more beneficial going forward.
“We will do our best to get as much of our business done early, knowing that naturally, some will go later in the window. We’re working hard to get as much done as we can as early as we can.”