Wimbledon boss now has more options
Neal Ardley says that he will now have more options during the crucial Christmas period with several players having moved a step closer to full fitness last night.
It may have been a laboured 1-0 Surrey Senior Cup win against Ashford Town, but it offered a chance for the Wimbledon manager to watch players who he had never previously seen play competitively since he took over.
Neal Ardley admitted that he was impressed by Jason Prior and Brendan Kiernan last night with the pair both making their comebacks after long-term injuries. Rashid Yussuff, who has also been sidelined for the last month, also enhanced his claims for Port Vale on Saturday.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal said: “Jason did very well when he was on. We knew he would be rusty, but he showed good quality. I am really pleased with Jason because no matter how hard you work on the training field, you need a match to replicate what you are going to need in a game. He was blowing a bit in the first-half, but that is to be expected. He showed some really good quality and he will be a good addition if we can keep him fit. I thought Brendan was very lively when he came on. I only planned on giving him 30 minutes, but he has ended up playing for an hour, which was good. ‘Toks’ was great in midfield too and these are good positives because players have put themselves in contention for the squad during the Christmas period.”
The Wimbledon boss admitted that he was disappointed with a lack of quality in the final third at times against Ashford Town with the visitors only finally killed off during extra-time.
“There were positives in that players got minutes under their belts,” he added. “Pim (Balkestein) played for 120 minutes and several other players boosted their fitness levels. The match was a clear example though of poor decision making throughout the team. That final pass and the quality was missing. They ground it out in the end, but it would not have been a game if we had been on it and we could have won by two or three goals.”
The full video interview with Neal Ardley can be viewed on Dons Player, along with the thoughts of Brendan Kiernan on his return after injury.