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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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16 March 2024 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Omar available but Tills “unlikely” to face Newport

Forward set for last game before heading off on World Cup duty

15 March 2024

Omar Bugiel is in the squad for tomorrow’s League Two clash at home to Newport County, before he heads down under for World Cup duty with his country.

It was announced this morning that our Lebanese international forward is destined for Australia for two 2026 qualifiers on March 21 and 26. He’s therefore scheduled to miss one match for the Dons.

“He’ll miss the Crewe game,” said Johnnie after training at the Cherry Red Records Stadium earlier today. “All being well, he’ll be back in training with us for Harrogate and available again.

“He’s got two important World Cup qualifiers and he’s really enjoyed representing his country. We have to respect that.”

You can listen to everything Johnnie had to say below.

Attacking midfielder James Tilley, who scored twice in the 2-2 draw in the away fixture in South Wales last September, isn’t expected to be involved when the Exiles visit Plough Lane on Saturday afternoon.

“He’s unlikely to play a part, to be honest,” said Johnnie. “I’d said previously that it wasn’t too serious and that’s still the case, but where he got a whack on the ribs it’s really sore. He hasn’t been able to train yet, so he’s unlikely to recover in time for the game.”

As we reported ahead of Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Gillingham, centre-back pairing Joe Lewis (knee) and Ryan Johnson (ankle) both returned to full training.

Johnno 16.9 2.JPG

“They come into our thoughts, whether this week will be too soon we’ll see,” said Johnnie. “They’ve been out for a long time, and we might look to play a friendly game next week, just to get them and some other guys some important minutes.

“We’re going to need everyone, and I want people to be sharp and match fit. This game on Saturday might come too soon for them.”

Graham Coughlan’s side come to us with play-off ambitions of their own. While we occupy the all-important seventh spot, Newport are among the chasing pack. However, they’ve never won when they’ve visited us since we returned to the Football League.

“We’ve had some really good games, some really close games,” said Johnnie. “Always fiercely competitive. Graham knows how to organise a team, motivate them, and his boys are certainly performing for him.

Coughlan 16.9.JPG

“They’re picking up results and we know we’re in for another tough match with them. They’re well in amongst it and they’ve picked up a lot of points already this season. They’ll be looking at the play-off situation like we’re looking at it.

“There’s a lot to play for, for both teams. So many teams are in the mix for different things this season – teams fighting it out at the top and bottom and then a mini league in the middle of teams going for those play-off spots.

“We’ve got points on the board and we’re in a good position. That’s in the bank now. It’s important that we keep doing our job and churning out the results.

“We’re the ones now that the others will be trying to reel back in, there’ll be a few bumps along the way, but what we have done is put ourselves in a really good position with eight games to go.”

You can purchase an audio match pass for the game, with full commentary from our Radio WDON team, by clicking on the link below:

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Photos: Pro Sports Images.

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