Neal Ardley's update ahead of away match
Neal Ardley said that he expects Darren Jones to be back in contention for AFC Wimbledon’s first visit to Mansfield Town since October, 2010.
Jones (pictured above) missed the midweek draw at Northampton Town due to an injured elbow, but he should be back in the squad and Kevin Sainte-Luce could also make the frame after being out with a hamstring injury.
New loan signing Kwesi Appiah is likely to go straight into the squad for the trip to the One Call Stadium.
However, Andy Frampton picked up a knock in the match at Sixfields Stadium and he is a doubt, along with Danny Hylton, who has been struck down by illness, and Jack Midson is suspended.
During an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley spoke about a different preparation for Mansfield, a match that will conclude a gruelling fixture list during March. Instead of staging a light recovery session at the training ground yesterday, the squad were taken to Champneys Health Spa in Forest Mere.
It was a method of preparation that Neal believes paid dividends last season during the club’s epic relegation battle as the Dons won their subsequent match at Aldershot Town.
“We planned this a while back,” said Neal. “We did it last season before we played Aldershot during a spell of seven games in March. This month there’s also been seven matches and it’s been another busy spell. We decided that instead of a recovery day we would give them a change of scenery. We got the squad together and they had some good food and did a bit of gym work and swimming.
“Hopefully, they will turn up after a long journey to Mansfield and feel better for it and be raring to go like they were for Aldershot last season. It’s about fresh bodies at this stage of the season and we will try to ensure that we put out a fit, strong team that’s ready to do itself justice.”
In a similar fashion to the Dons, Mansfield have eased the threat of relegation by putting together an unbeaten run, culminating in Tuesday’s excellent 4-2 win at Hartlepool United. And with Paul Cox’s side having offered such stern opposition in the 0-0 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Neal Ardley knows his side will need to stand up and be counted.
“The reports that we got back from Tuesday were that they were physically too strong for Hartlepool,” added Neal. “We’ve got to be ready for that. We’ve got a decision to make about whether or not we set-up to match that. Or we could try to deal with that and concentrate on what we are good at.”
to read a match report from that day. Mansfield revisitedThe Dons won their last visit to Mansfield in style with a 5-2 win. Sammy Moore memorably struck the opener after just 11 seconds and he was one of thee current Dons players that featured with Luke Moore and Seb Brown also in the squad on 5 October, 2010. Click on
Dons Player subscribers can watch Neal’s full interview on our premium site and the thoughts of new loan signing Kwesi Appiah will appear shortly.