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Neal's update for Newport

19 December 2013

Team news and the manager's views ahead of trip to Wales

Neal Ardley will assess captain Alan Bennett’s fitness before selecting his squad for the match at League 2 high-flyers Newport County on Saturday.

Centre-back Bennett has been out with an ankle injury and though Will Antwi is making good progress, he’s not yet ready to add to Neal’s defensive options by staking a claim for a first-team recall.

Though Harry Pell still ruled out, Sammy Moore is likely to make a welcome return to the midfield engine room after serving a one-match suspension against Mansfield.

Neal Ardley believes that Wimbledon will be in great shape for the second-half of the season if they can pick-up points during the Christmas period.

“At the moment we’re a little bit light on key players,” said Neal. “That’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. We’ve got to make sure that we pick-up points in these next two or three games leading up to New Year. If we’re on 30 points-plus by the New Year, then it’s been a decent first half to the season and we can maybe kick-on. Sammy Moore is going to be a big plus in this type of game.”

Neal is under no illusions about the size of the task facing Wimbledon on Saturday with League 2 new boys County having made a bright start in their first season back in the Football League.

Speaking to Rob Cornell on Dons Player, Neal added: “It’s going to be tough. I always try to watch footage of the opposition to try and work out what they’re good at and the statistics don’t lie. Newport have got the best home form in the league having won seven and drawn one and they’ve scored more than anyone in the league at home.

“They’ve made their home a fortress, but we can’t fear that. We’ve got to go there and solve some problems and find ways of getting control of the game. Justin Edinburgh and Jimmy Dack have done a great job and Newport will test our resolve.”

George Porter is suspended for this match after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Mansfield.

     . Sammy’s interviewDons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley tomorrow and Luke Moore on Saturday’s Newport challenge. If you missed Sammy Moore’s thoughts on his return after suspension, click on 

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