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Tough decisions for Neal

29 November 2013

The manager looks ahead to Bristol Rovers test

says he has extra options heading into Saturday’s match at Bristol Rovers with players having staked their claims for places during the week.Neal Ardley 

’s arrival has also increased competition at the back.Kevin Feely all played 90 minutes for the Under-21s at Charlton on Wednesday and Charlie Sheringham and Jim Fenlon, Kevin Sainte-Luce

Neal provided an in-depth seven minute interview at the training ground yesterday for Dons Player and subscribers to our premium site can now also hear the thoughts of vice-captain Barry Fuller on tomorrow’s Bristol challenge.

has come on in leaps and bounds in the last two weeks. Jim is pushing to get back into the team, but it is a long season. He will play games, I am confident of that, and with Charlie it was a case of getting that third game in since he came back from injury. He will be more confident about his fitness and will be sharper for the games he’s had. I look at it now and these players are ready to come into the fray whether that be starting or coming off the bench.Callum Kennedy is ready now as far as his fitness levels go. Jim is a very good player, but the back four have played quite well lately and Kevin Sainte-LuceSpeaking during that interview, Neal said: “

who can cover anywhere across the back four, but sometimes if we are up against a big strong team they may try and play off the fact that Rhys is not as much of a natural centre-back. So after discussing the right type of player that we wanted, we felt that Kevin Feely was the right option. We will work hard to try and develop him, but at the same time when he gets a chance I think he will do a very good job.”Rhys Weston have done fantastic because we have been solid when they’ve played together. But if you look at a period of eight games in six weeks then you cannot guarantee that they are going to come through every game. We have got Alan Bennett and Andy Frampton

Wimbledon were beaten 1-0 in last season’s visit to The Memorial Stadium – a result that came when the Dons were fighting relegation in April – and Neal believes that good progress has been made since then.

Neal said: “As a manager I look at more detail and I am probably more critical of the players, but are we regularly being opened up by teams and does it look like our opponents are better than us week in and week out? The answer to that is ‘no’ and even during our sticky spell in October I still felt that we were a reasonably decent team in games. It is just trying to put that little bit of extra detail into it that will edge us over the line in more games than not.

“Bristol Rovers are down there and they are not in great form as regards winning games. However, John Ward is a very experienced manager who will have his side well organised and he did a very good job at the back end of last season. I know that they have had injuries and suspensions, but whatever side they put out they will be hard to break down.”

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