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Will makes his return

23 April 2014

Promising defender involved for Under-21s along with Fenlon

Will Nightingale put his three-month injury lay-off behind him yesterday by making a substitute appearance for Wimbledon’s Under-21 development side.

The towering centre-back, who was on the bench for the first-team against Torquay United earlier this season, came on for 20 minutes in a 1-1 draw against the Nike Academy.

has been with AFC Wimbledon since the age of nine, but he had his progress this season interrupted by a heel injury in January that required an operation.(pictured in the U-21s Premier League Cup win against Gillingham earlier this season)Will

There was certainly plenty of home-grown talent in Wimbledon’s Under-21 set-up yesterday against the Nike Academy, a well-renowned youth set-up based at St George’s Park, the FA National Football Centre in Burton.

Jim Fenlon maintained his match-sharpness with a run-out at Wimbledon’s training ground and he opened the scoring with a well-taken goal. First-year Under-18s Egli Kaja, Ollie Haines and Callum Wilson all gained experience of Under-21 football after impressing for Mark Robinson this season.

   George Oakley came so close to earning a win for the Dons when his header struck the crossbar, but Wimbledon had to settle for a draw against a side that provided a decent test on the day.

Under-21 Development Coach Shaun North said: “The Nike Academy provided a very good test and it was an even game. We had some good spells, but we were put under pressure for periods of the match. The most important thing is for us to try and get players in and around the first-team squad. We’ve had an Under-21s squad for less than a year, but we’re getting there. We’ve had a vast amount of games and a lot of youngsters have had an opportunity to show what they can do.

“Clubs such as Chelsea and Fulham spend a lot of money on it, but how many players do they get into the first-team? If we can get one or two through to the first-team we will have done really well.”

The Under-21s, of course, are building up to the London Senior Cup Final, which takes place on Tuesday, 6 May, at Imber Court against Metropolitan Police.

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