Smart work by Martin as MK Dons trade Conor McGrandles for Ben Gladwin

After the disappointment of losing Conor McGrandles last night to Lincoln City, MK Dons fans are delighted after the club announced that fans’ favourite Ben Gladwin has returned in his place.

McGrandles has joined Lincoln City on a free transfer after seemingly being deemed surplus to requirements at Stadium:MK, whilst Gladwin re-signs after his original release due to a lack of wage funds.

Russell Martin had hinted late in July that re-signing Gladwin, subject to losing one or two other members of the squad such as McGrandles in order to finance it, was always going to be a priority.

Both look like shrewd moves for the Dons boss, who by replacing McGrandles with Gladwin fills one of the biggest missing pieces in the MK Dons puzzle.


A goal-scoring midfielder

As good as Conor McGrandles was, his goal contributions were what inevitably let him down as an attacking midfielder – and Gladwin is the answer to just that.

The Scot struggled to contribute to scorelines, only tallying two league strikes in his time at Stadium:MK; he also provided just six assists, something with which he will be disappointed considering his attacking role.

Many fans have been critical over the past year of the Dons’ over reliance on strikers for goals; last September, after injuries to strikers Rhys Healey, Joe Mason, and Sam Nombe, the Dons went on a barren spell of 2 goals in 10 games that lead to the departure of manager Paul Tisdale.

But Gladwin could be the answer to that, arriving back in MK with a fantastic track record of contributions in League One having notched a combined 27 goals and assists in 90 odd games during his career in the third vision.

The Reading youth product has also spoken of his enjoyment playing under Russell Martin at MK, highlighting the fact that the system deployed allows him to play to the best of his abilities.

In swapping McGrandles for a more attack-minded midfielder with an eye for goal, Martin is tackling one of the Dons’ biggest weaknesses by adding goals elsewhere in his squad.


Gladwin injury concerns

One point that will be of concern to the Dons, however, is Gladwin’s injury record.

After having barely featured in 24 months for Blackburn Rovers, limited only to a handful of appearances in the Premier League reserve division, Gladwin joined the Dons on a risky transfer that was a gamble for Russell Martin.

Though Gladwin never played more than 30 minutes for the Dons, with him often replacing McGrandles on the hour mark or after, the manager did speak of the fact that he was close to a full return until the unfortunate early conclusion of the season.

The club’s media team have already confirmed that Gladwin is back training with the side ahead of upcoming friendlies.


A good move for Lincoln City

It’s important to remember that McGrandles is still a quality League One midfielder who will be an asset to Appleton’s Imps side.

An energetic, enthusiastic midfielder who will always give his best, he has the opportunity to really make a name for himself at City. It’ll be his passionate style of play that makes him popular at Sincil Bank:

McGrandles embodies everything that your Dad loves about football; he tackles hard, runs around a lot, and always takes the time to wind up opposition fans.

Taken from

But just really isn’t what MK Dons need right now, or at least not as much as Gladwin will be. This is very much a win-win situation for the Dons and Lincoln City who have both improved their squads.

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