Toby Ajala bid farewell to AFC Wimbledon this week but has backed the Dons to beat the drop without him.

The flying winger, who returned to parent club Bristol City after the Dons’s mid-week draw with Northampton Town, firmly believes Neal Ardley has recruited the right mix of youth and experience for his bid to keep the club in League Two.

Ajala was desperate to leave Kingsmeadow on a high note and the 21-year-old was disappointed the team could not hold on to Tuesday night’s lead.

But Ajala had this message for his former team-mates and Dons fans alike.

“I believe the boys will stay up. There is a great quality in this team that is beginning to come through.

“We should have beaten Northampton, and they are chasing promotion.

“We seem to struggle to keep hold of a lead, but that will change. The boys are confident, I am confident. It would have been nice to stay and help.

“I want to thank the fans for everything they have given me. There has been so much support on Twitter and from the stands.

“There have been times when my head has gone down and I’ve not played well, but the support really lifts you and I hope I have repaid them.”

Ajala made 12 appearances for the Dons since arriving on loan in November – the last being the 1-1 draw with the Cobblers – and he leaves south west London with fond memories.

“The FA Cup in Milton Keynes was a fantastic moment, when Jack’s header went in and the crowd behind the goal went crazy,” he said.

“They came onto the pitch and it was just mental. That  will stick with me forever – and it was my first game too and I supplied the cross, so that was even better.

“Moments like that don’t come around too often, and it was disappointing to go on and lose. Despite the result, it was something special to be part of.”