The beaming smile of striker Tom Elliott brought some relief to Neal Ardley’s injury depleted squad at the training ground today.
The popular Dons forward is back in the squad having served a one-match suspension, after being sent-off against Charlton Athletic last Saturday.
“He’s a forward who brings people into play,” said assistant manager Neil Cox in an update to Dons Player. “He’s strong and aggressive and it’s good to have him back. The boys will be happy he’s around.”
Neal Ardley was pleased that defender Will Nightingale is back in the picture, after a run out for the development side against Fulham earlier this week. He was also hopeful of fellow centre-back Darius Charles being around the squad soon, when he spoke after Tuesday night’s draw with Coventry City.
Neil Cox says players will continue to be assessed in the run up to Saturday’s trip to Greenhous Meadow, regarding their availability to face hosts Shrewsbury Town in League One.
“One or two others are 50/50 in terms of making the squad, so we’ll have to wait and see how they get through it.”
Flying winger David Fitzpatrick returned to the Dons side when he came on as a second-half substitute in Tuesday night’s late draw with the Sky Blues. Neil acknowledged it’s a key time for him to make an impression on the first-team.
“He’s not a 21s player anymore,” said Neil. “He knocked on our door and asked to go on loan. We managed to get him on loan to Torquay and his agent did a really good job of giving him two months there. He had a really good spell, he’s come back fit and lively and ready to play and he got an opportunity for 45 minutes on Tuesday night, so he’ll be in the squad and pushing himself forward because he needs to make a career for himself.”
The loss of influential captain Barry Fuller to a pectoral muscle injury for at least six weeks was a subject Neil was keen to pay tribute to.
“It’s a shame Baz Fuller is going to be out for a while. He’s been fantastic for us. I don’t think he’s missed too many games for us – a couple of suspensions here and there. He landed awkwardly on it, but to be fair that is typical Baz Fuller stopping a goal. He’s put his body on the line and come off worse which is sad to see.”
The full interview with Neil Cox is now available to Dons Player subscribers. An interview with David Fitzpatrick will follow tomorrow and an extensive preview of the game against Shrewsbury Town will appear on the website.