Team news and views from the boss
Neal Ardley says that Saturday’s visit of Rotherham will come too soon for striker Jason Prior’s long-awaited return.
The 23-year-old, who has now put a double leg break behind him after nearly eight months out, was involved in today’s training session, which was diverted to 3G pitches at Tooting and Mitcham Community Centre due to the weather.
However, speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley admitted that Prior is likely to be held back for Tuesday’s Surrey Senior Cup second round match against Ashford Town with a view to him potentially being involved around Christmas time.
“Jason has had a couple of weeks back now, but he needs games,” said the Wimbledon boss. “He is a strong, brave lad, but when a player has had a bad injury like Jason has, then he needs to get over that mental worry about his leg being strong enough. Hopefully, Jason will get some game time on Tuesday night and then be there or thereabouts to be involved around Christmas.”
Midfielder Rashid Yussuff has shrugged off the hip infection that has sidelined him in recent weeks and returned to light training, but he is also not considered to be ready for a return.
The Wimbledon manager applies the same principle to the likes of Mat Mitchel-King and Pim Balkestein so the Dons could well be unchanged at the back for Saturday’s match, which will be Wimbledon’s first home match since the defeat to Southend on 20 November.
Byron Harrison is also struggling to shake off the back injury that has dogged him for the past few weeks and he is doubtful for Saturday.
Whatever the personnel, Neal Ardley knows that turning around his side’s poor home form will prove a tough task against a Rotherham side flying high in League 2.
“The reports we got from a few people we spoke to at Gillingham was that Rotherham were the best team that they had played against all season,” he said. “They seem to be in a rich vein of form, maybe not so much in terms of results, but in how well they are playing. They are a very good team with a big budget for this league and they are expected to be up there.
“When your home form has not been the best, then you know it is going to be tough. Our fans are always brilliant, but in the last two games particularly they have been fantastic. We really need them behind us on Saturday, but it is also up to the team to give them something to shout about.”
An in-depth video interview with Neal Ardley can now be viewed via Dons Player and tomorrow we will feature the thoughts of flying winger Toby Ajala on a promising start to his Wimbledon loan spell.