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Neal calls on Dons spirit

16 January 2014

We need the old Wimbledon mentality says boss

Harry Pell is back in the frame for Saturday’s match at League 2 leaders Scunthorpe United after shaking off the bout of illness that kept him out against Torquay United.

Neal Ardley confirmed that Pell has been back in full training since Tuesday and captain Alan Bennett has also come through training after he passed a late fitness test to play against Torquay.

Neal also said that he would have no qualms about pitching new signing Aaron Morris into action after the defender got an hour under his belt for the Under-21s on Tuesday.

“When a player has 10 months out then you are not going to see the best of him for another three weeks until he gets that match sharpness,” Neal told Dons Player. “But Aaron is strong at the moment and he is a good athletic boy. He did a lot of the groundwork prior to coming here. Aaron will still be a bit rusty, but adrenaline will get him through, and he will definitely be a part of the squad.”

Jim Fenlon is one player who will not be involved as he will serve the second of a three-match ban.

Chris Arthur also pressed his claims by playing for Wimbledon’s development team against Portsmouth, but Neal does not think he’s quite ready to play for a full 90 minutes.

“Chris is edging closer to full fitness and he is getting there,” added Neal. “When that time comes it will be great, but he is dynamic and powerful and needs to be super-fit to be at his best.”

The Dons face a Scunthorpe United side that have marched to the top of League 2 after an excellent run of seven wins out nine, but Neal says his players must show no fear at Glanford Park on Saturday.

Neal added: “We can be scared of these games or we can approach them in the old Wimbledon way and say ‘let’s go out there and work incredibly hard and see what we can get from it’. They are on a great run, but we have to make sure that they don’t work harder than us. We cannot be worried about them and what they bring to the table. We have to play our own game and try and win the match.

“At the moment we are a little bit light in the squad with players still trying to regain full fitness. We have been wary of over-cooking them in training every day after a busy Christmas period. We are just trying to keep them wrapped in cotton wool a little bit so that we can get through the next few weeks. When we get our fringe players fit and add one or two players then we can kick-on during the second half of the season with a strong squad.”

 Dons Player subscribers can access a comprehensive preview for Saturday’s test against the League 2 table-toppers with Neal Ardley’s full update and interviews will follow with former Scunthorpe United player Callum Kennedy and George Francomb.

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