An update from Mark Robinson ahead of pivotal match
Under-18s manager Mark Robinson has urged players in his squad to grasp their opportunities with just five days until the FA Youth Cup showdown against Burnley.
The young Dons host Burnley next Thursday (7.00 pm kick-off at the Cherry Red Records Stadium), but they will be aiming to cause an upset without two of their key players as captain Dan Gallagher has suffered a knee injury and Ben Harrison is back in first-team contention due to Jack Smith’s injury.
Wimbledon will be aiming to sign off with a win at home to Cambridge United today in their final Football League Youth Alliance match before focusing fully on the third round cup tie.
Speaking to Dons Player, Mark Robinson said: “We are a bit light for today as key players will be involved for the Under-21s and Ben could be involved in some way for the first-team on Sunday. But we want players from our group to be stepping up to play at a higher level. But it’s a great opportunity for the other lads in the squad to stake their claims.
“Everyone in the squad is excited about taking on a Premier League club’s academy. It’s important though that the players first keep their focus on the day to day stuff in training and on the match against Cambridge.
“The chances are very slim that we will have Dan Gallagher available because he has a slightly torn meniscus in his knee. I’m sorry for Dan more than anything because he’s such a passionate boy. He loves being captain of the Under-18s and has been at the club since Under-11s. Dan is a leader and we will miss him, but he will be supporting the boys on the night like everyone else.
“We’ve been close to earning big cup ties in this competition before. Last season we would have played Tottenham if we had won one game and we were one match away from playing West Ham in. It’s the furthest we’ve been in the competition and it would be fantastic if we could get a good crowd along to cheer us on into the next round.”
Interviews with Mark Robinson, Egli Kaja and Dan Agyei are all on Dons Player.
The club shop will be open from 5.00 pm until 6.45 pm before Thursday’s FA Youth Cup tie.