The club have parted company with a number of regulars, including several fans’ favourites, following relegation from the Championship.
“There are various reasons for that being the case,” explained Thornton, who took over in mid-season.
“We always knew that the likes of Mitch Clark wouldn’t be here next season.
“Others wanted to stay in the Championship and others fancied a new challenge after being here for several seasons.
“I also wanted to freshen things up and make it more of my team.
“I’m happy with the players we’ve brought in and I think we’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience.
“Obviously I’m disappointed to lose players such as Mike Emmett, who I wanted to keep, along with Russ Spiers, but we couldn't agree terms and they've both joined York.”
The Dons boss is aiming to hit the ground running when the 2016 season kicks-off with the opening rounds of the iPRO Sports Cup.
“We want to do well in that competition but our main priority is to make the league play-offs," he told The Star.
“We’ve got a tough start to our league campaign with our first away game being at Keighley.
“We have to be ready for that.”