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Neal considers his options

6 March 2013

An update from the Dons boss after last night's cup win

Neal Ardley said that Charlie Strutton and Curtis Osano could be in contention for first-team places against York City on Saturday after the pair both completed 90 minutes last night.

Strutton’s return towards full fitness after a knee injury brings more options for the Wimbledon manager up front and Osano’s return is timely with Jonathan Meades still injured and Mat Mitchel-King having filled the right-back spot in recent weeks.

“Charlie still needs work on his movement, which we will talk to him about, but he certainly took his goal well and looked a threat during the game,” said Neal Ardley. “It is good because you want problems like this with players scoring goals in these games so that they are knocking on the door.

“It was a good run-out for Curtis and he will feel that. You cannot replicate playing 90 minutes in training. Though it was not League 2 tempo, it was a step in the right direction for him. If we do have to throw Curtis straight back in then he will be that step closer to being available.

“We will look at how Curtis is and Jonathan are in the next few days as we may need to bring someone in for that area. But we do not want to give up one of our loan spaces and end up having to leave a player out of the squad. There are one or two options, but we need to check on their fitness and whether they can come straight in and do a job.”

Neal Ardley added that Wimbledon’s 2-1 Surrey Senior Cup win at Chipstead was a very useful exercise as it also offered him a chance to assess more of the club’s young players with defender Owen Roberts, in particular, doing himself no harm on the night.

“It was good to give players coming back from injury game-time and to have a look at players coming through and to watch how they stood up to the test,” the Dons manager said. “You certainly do learn things from these games. The young lads got a taste of playing in men’s football. Owen stood up well at the back. We were playing against players who like to back in and win their headers and that is something they would face on a regular basis in League 2. You do not get that in academy football. We are through to the next round and as we are also still in the London Senior Cup we have two competitions for these lads to get more chances.”

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