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Dons step it up for Southend

24 December 2013

An update from Neal Ardley

Captain Alan Bennett is doubtful for Wimbledon’s Boxing Day clash at home to Southend United with an ankle injury that may mean the match comes too soon for his return.

During an in-depth interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley provided an update on the progress of Bennett, and the Wimbledon manager said that Chris Arthur and Will Antwi are making positive steps on the road to recovery.

“Alan has done a lot of work with Stuart Douglas and he is a bit further down the line with the extra days that we have had,” said Neal. “We don’t know whether Alan will be quite there for Boxing Day at the moment.

“We had an Under-21 game scheduled for yesterday against Reading and that had been earmarked for Chris Arthur’s return, but they got through to the next round of the cup so that was called off. Instead, we arranged an in-house game. Our youth players and Under-21s, along with Chris, Will Antwi and George Porter took part. Chris played for 45 minutes and it was a step in the right direction for him. We expect Chris to be blowing a bit and finding it hard to gain fitness because he’s only been back training for four days, but he came through it well.”

Harry Pell is back in light training after being sidelined with a knee injury, but he is not yet ready and George Porter is suspended for Southend United with the match at Newport County on Saturday having been called off.

Neal Ardley has had his squad in for training every day since that scheduled game was postponed, but it’s been a change of venue with AFC Wimbledon utilising 3G playing facilities at Tooting & Mitcham United FC.

“We decided to get the players in on Sunday for training,” Neal added. “We said to the boys that this was not for any punishment, but it was the best thing to do so that we could keep things going. We have trained Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The players will have Christmas day off and then go again on Boxing Day.

“It is a tough league and we will have inconsistent spells, but I am very confident that we will get a good points total and we will see where that takes us.”

.Dons You TubeIf you missed our recent video interview with Chris Arthur on his comeback after injury, click on  

Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley and we will also feature Kaid Mohamed and Callum Kennedy on our premium site in the build-up to Southend United.

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