AFC Wimbledon Reach Into National League To Sign Al-Hamadi Replacement

AFC Wimbledon have announced the signing of striker Josh Kelly from Solihull Moors for an undisclosed fee.

The 25-year-old has today signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the club with the option of a third if he impresses during his time in London.

This will be Kelly’s first taste of EFL football, having previously only applied his trade in England’s lower leagues. However he is a man in form this season and fully deserving of a chance at the level.

With 13 goals in 27 National League games for the Moors this season, it does not come as a surprise that the striker was being monitored by a host of EFL sides. AFC Wimbledon are the team to have captured his signature and he could well have a successful future with the club.

Kelly leaves Solihull with the club fourth in the National League and his goals this season have played a huge part in where they are in the table. Although it is a significant loss for Andy Whing’s side, the fee in which they have received for the striker should allow them to build for the future.

The signing of Kelly should boost Wimbledon’s promotion chances this season, as they look to return to England’s third tier. Currently sat in ninth just two points off of the play-off places, there is no reason why the Wombles cannot have a say in the promotion fight this year.

They will however be without former talisman Ali Al-Hamadi after the Iraqi international joined Ipswich Town earlier in the week. Although it is unlikely that Kelly can replicate his form in front of goal, he should provide plenty of contributions for Wimbledon in years to come.

Speaking upon his arrival at the club to club media, Kelly seemed thrilled to get a chance in the EFL.

“Once I heard that Wimbledon were interested there was only one thing on my mind. I’ve been in the National League for a few years and now it’s up to me to prove that I can make the step up.

“I’m quick, direct and I feel like I can keep scoring goals here. I just want to say thank you to the fans and that I’m looking forward to the journey here.”

Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson added:

“This is a really exciting signing for the Club. Josh has scored goals for a number of years at National League level and is ready to make the step up to league football. As soon as I spoke to him I got a real sense that he was desperate to come and join in with what we’re doing.

“It seems like a perfect fit. He fits into our style and the way we want to play. He has brilliant movement about him, he’s clever and intelligent with his runs and he’s obviously a natural finisher. Most importantly he’s a really good character who wants to work hard for us.”

Writer’s View

This could be a signing which works out in the long run for Wimbledon and they have a proven track record of getting the best out of fairly unproven players. It is a step-up for Flynn but one in which he should be able to take in his stride if the first half of the season with Solihull Moors is anything to go by.

The loss of Al-Hamadi is a huge one for the club but they still have a chance of making the playoffs this season. It’s all dependent on how they react in the next couple of weeks, and Kelly could play a significant role in their season if on song.

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