Team update from Neal Ardley
The Dons have received a major boost ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southend United with Andy Frampton back in contention for a return.
Frampton (pictured) has been in full training this week after shaking off the calf injury that ruled him out of Wimbledon’s last two matches and Neal Ardley confirmed that the defender is likely to be in the squad for Saturday.
However, winger Kevin Sainte-Luce will be assessed tomorrow after picking up a knee injury and captain Alan Bennett is also doubtful with a knock.
Speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Andy has trained during the week so we fully expect him to be in contention. Alan is a doubt and Kevin has come in from training today with a knock on his knee so we don’t know how he is going to be.
“But the squad is looking strong for this stage of the season. They are fit and strong and I think the goals we have scored in the final minutes of games recently backs that up. The physical output that the players put in last Saturday was excellent. We just need to keep them fresh and make sure that they keep doing their jobs so that we can churn out the performances.”
Wimbledon were beaten 1-0 in the corresponding fixture after having George Francomb sent off – a decision that was overturned on appeal – but the Dons did earn a very impressive 3-1 win at Roots Hall last season.
However, Neal says his players will have to show that same steely resolve once again if they are to stop Southend’s play-off charge.
“We put in a really good performance there last season,” said Neal. “This season we put in a resilient showing for large parts of the game with 10 men. Southend are a good side and the table tells you that. Phil Brown has done a great job and they will be looking to stay in that top seven. All the teams are fighting for something at this stage of the season, whether that’s going for promotion or trying to keep their heads above water.
“We’ve got to stay physically and mentally strong because it’s not an easy place to go and get a win. Far too often it has said AFC Wimbledon nil in the results lately, but that’s not for the want of trying. We certainly don’t set-up to be negative. We’ve obviously not got to keep falling behind in games. We work all week on trying to be an attacking team and ‘team’ is the operative word.
“Forwards are always the players we look at to score goals, but as a team we must make sure we deliver the statistics that enable anyone to score a goal. We work hard all week on this, but at the same time we work on team shape and defending. Hopefully that will produce performances that earn results.”
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video update from Neal Ardley on our premium site and an interview with Andy Frampton will follow tomorrow.