Captain stresses off the field progress
Captain Alan Bennett believes that progress made behind-the-scenes by manager Neal Ardley in the last 18 months will pay off this season.
Bennett (pictured), who joined the Dons on 1 February, 2013, says the training and coaching environment put in place by the manager has changed massively since his arrival.
“This is my third season now and since I came here the manager has made massive strides off the pitch,” said the experienced defender. “It’s a completely different environment from when I first came in. I cannot explain it all, but in terms of the medical department, sports science, coaching and nutrition it has come on in leaps and bounds. The manager knew he had to do all that and bring things up to standard off the pitch. The manager and his staff deserve a massive amount of credit for doing that.
“It’s not as if the management team have had millions of pounds to spend to make changes and it’s all been done on a tight budget. I can only applaud the manager and his staff because it’s been incredible. People don’t see that, but it will pay dividends because it’s that extra three or four per cent you need to be a successful team.”
A key change last summer was bringing in a full-time goalkeeper coach with the arrival of Ashley Bayes and Bennett says that first-team goalkeepers James Shea and Ross Worner are sure to improve under his tutelage.
“It’s really refreshing to see because ‘Bayzo’ takes so much personal responsibility for how they work,” added Bennett. “He works so hard with his goalkeepers for every minute of the day and he leaves no stone unturned. ‘Bayzo’ looks at absolutely every aspect of their training. The goalkeepers have to look at this as a time when they can make massive strides. James and Ross can push each other on throughout the season and they both have an incredible attitude to training.”