Team news and views from the boss
Neal Ardley today updated Dons Player with the latest team news ahead of Saturday’s trip to Port Vale.
Speaking to Rob Cornell at our New Malden training ground, the Wimbledon manager confirmed that Christian Jolley (bruised foot) is unlikely to feature after being recalled from his loan spell at Newport County. Top scorer Byron Harrison (back) is struggling to be involved and Charlie Strutton (knee) appears certain to be out.
However, on-loan West Ham striker Paul McCallum is available again, while Neal Ardley added that both Rashid Yussuff and Brendan Kiernan are both in the frame to make Saturday’s squad.
The Dons will head up to Staffordshire tomorrow and will hold a training session on a 3G pitch at Crewe to conclude final preparations for what is sure to be a tough challenge at Vale Park.
With Saturday’s opponents currently second in League 2 and chasing promotion just one match before the halfway stage of the season, Neal Ardley is under no illusions about the size of the task facing Wimbledon.
“We are away from home on a big pitch and they are not where they are by luck, just as we are near the bottom not by unfortunate circumstances,” he said. “We need to try and turn it around and turn it into that classic cliché of a coupon buster. All we can do is have a really good go at it. We need to go into the match with a game plan and not be naïve in our approach. We have to try and stop what they are good at as best we can and impose our game on them. It is not easy to set the team up to be defensively solid and free flowing in attack as well. Unfortunately, one way of playing has to be given up in the short-term to be strong in the other.”
The Wimbledon boss also praised the contribution of on-loan Bournemouth utility man Jonathan Meades. In his interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley says that he hopes to extend Jonathan’s stay in January and talks about the possibility of another move for Steven Gregory, who has today had his contract terminated at AFC Bournemouth.