Team news and an update from Neal Ardley
Neal Ardley has revealed that he will make key decisions about Wimbledon’s squad after the next three games.
Speaking to Dons Player ahead of Saturday’s trip to Fleetwood, our new first-team manager admitted that the next run of games will tell him a lot about loan players he may need to let go or players he may need to bring in.
“We need to pick up whatever we can from the games during the next week or so and then look at the squad,” he said. “We will look at what we have got, what we need to keep, and maybe players that we need to bring in further down the line, if that is the case. We have three games in eight days, which will be tough. The boys in the group here are all going to play a part. We have a lot of loan players, whose time transpires soon. We need to think on our feet and think what we are going to do about things in the next couple of weeks.”
Neal could have Sammy Moore back to boost the squad, though the midfielder is touch and go to make the starting 11 after missing last Saturday’s defeat to Cheltenham with an ankle injury.
Club skipper Mat Mitchel-King (back) is not yet ready for Saturday, but physio Mike Rayner expects him to return to full training on Monday, while fellow defenders Pim Balkestein (groin) and Dale Bennett (back) will also be back soon. Curtis Osano has come through another week of full training and is in contention for Saturday and Callum McNaughton today returned to full training for the first time in six months after putting a serious knee injury behind him.
It all means that Neal Ardley will have other options in the coming weeks, but he has to go with what is available for Saturday’s trip to Highbury Stadium. And Neal says it has been a productive week in terms of getting new ideas across to the squad.
“We have had a good week’s training and I am really pleased with how the boys worked and their attitude,” he added. “We are starting to drop our ideas in now and hopefully some of them can come across in our performances. It is really important to work on some patterns of play, defending from the front and stuff like that. We have tried to work on the team shape and have done some fitness work as on Tuesday we had a double training session. Hopefully, we can try and build the intensity up in the coming weeks. By the end of today’s training session, the players were starting to nod along in that they were starting to get what we are trying to do. On the sidelines on Saturday, I now feel that there is information I can give that is based on this week’s training sessions and the boys will understand. I did not get that feeling last week. But we are under no illusions that it will be a very tough game on Saturday.”
Fleetwood are currently fourth in League 2 after an excellent start to life in the Football League, though they did get beat last Saturday at home to Wycombe Wanderers. Of course, our visit to Highbury Stadium will bring back memories of our 2-0 semi-final first leg play-off win in May, 2011, and we feature an interview with Luke Moore, who got one of the goals, on Dons Player.
Manager Micky Mellon is definitely without striker Andy Mangan for Saturday as he broke down with a knee injury this week, while defenders Dean Howell and Steve McNulty are unlikely to be risked.
The full interview with Neal Ardley can be viewed on Dons Player and we will also feature the views of fit-again midfielder Stacy Long on the new ideas being implemented by our new management team.
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