Neal Ardley updates us ahead of tough test
Neal Ardley believes he now has a much stronger squad to cope with the loss of key players, ahead of tomorrow night’s trip to Port Vale.
booking of the season against Burton Albion. Centre-back Will Antwi is also ruled out as he has yet to recover from a hip injury.thWimbledon will have to do without Jonathan Meades, who is away with the Wales Under-21 squad for their friendly match against Iceland and Harry Pell is suspended after picking up his 10
However, centre-back Alan Bennett, who was not signed in time to be eligible for the Burton match, completed his first full training session today and is in contention for his debut and Curtis Osano also came through after shaking off a calf injury. With midfielder Sammy Moore having been rested on Saturday with tonight in mind, Neal Ardley has plenty of options to consider.
Speaking to Dons Player after today’s training session at New Malden, Neal Ardley said: “Will is going to take a little longer than what we thought, but Curtis is back and Sammy had a good work-out at the weekend. We left Sammy out of the squad at the weekend so that he could increase his fitness levels. Most of the squad are fit so it is really positive for us.
“It is important that we do not have to rush players back from injuries just because we need them in the squad. It is great in that sense at the moment because we have three or four who are not in the squad who would normally have a chance of being in the 18. From a manager’s perspective, I would much rather be struggling to leave players out, rather than have players half-fit because that is all we have got.”
Wimbledon will be aiming to summon up the same spirit that almost caused an upset against Port Vale 12 days ago (the picture above shows Jack Midson celebrating his second in the 2-2 draw).
However, Neal Ardley is under no illusions about how tough the task will be at the League 2 leaders tomorrow night – and he says that the squad must show what they are capable during a busy run of fixtures in February.
“I am positive that we have got the right blend, but it is up to us as coaches and players to make sure that we put in the performances,” he added. “We have a good squad on paper, but have to get the points. It is a big pitch at Port Vale and they are a very good team. It is going to be tough as not many teams have come away from their place with a positive result this season. Missing Jonathan and Harry makes it tougher, but we now have a stronger squad and so it is not as much of a worry as it would have been before Christmas.”
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