Neal Ardley's team update for Wycombe
Neal Ardley says that Wimbledon will not be changing their approach at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday to cope with the loss of suspended midfielder Dannie Bulman.
Experienced midfielder Bulman has started every League 2 game this season, but he is ruled out for the match at Adams Park after picking up his fifth booking of 2014/15 in the win against Bury.
However, Neal Ardley told Dons Player that it’s an opportunity for another midfielder to step up to the mark and give him a selection headache for the following match against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday.
“I don’t think we should change our approach,” said the Wimbledon manager. “We’ve got our way of doing things and this is how we are trying to win games. Whoever comes in will need to do a bit of everything; he will need to be a good defender, have the same sort of energy that Dannie brings to the team and obviously show their own qualities.
“I have to trust players in the squad and so far when I’ve given other players a chance they’ve proven themselves. Hopefully the player who comes in will give me a problem come Monday. It’s a big loss with Dannie being out, but it provides an opportunity for someone else to show that he can cope. I was actually thinking of how I could freshen Dannie up because he gets through so much work and he’s no ‘spring chicken’ any more. It gives us an opportunity to do this now.
“We have a couple of little niggles after today’s training session and these players have been sent in to see Stuart Douglas just to make sure. I’ve not spoken to Stuart yet, but hopefully the niggles are nothing serious.”
Neal Ardley will be aiming to put one over on his close friend Gareth Ainsworth, who is still popular with Wimbledon supporters after his five-year spell with the Dons. Neal is full of admiration for the way that Gareth has transformed Wycombe since their great escape on the final day of last season.
“I spoke to Gareth on the morning of the game and I sent him a message about how I tackled a similar situation when we played Fleetwood,” Neal added. “Though I was still seething afterwards about own performance at Accrington, I rang Gareth up to congratulate him and he was buzzing. In the same way as all managers, he looked at why it had gone wrong and set about getting the type of players in that he wanted for the following season.
“He now has a young, powerful and athletic team. They have goals in them and their defensive record is very good. They’ve stayed in games against tough teams and that builds up confidence. They have momentum and they will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming weeks.
“It’s great that we’re playing against top of the table. It’s hard to get to the summit and their fans should make it a great occasion, but we will try and repeat what we’ve been doing this season. We’ve given the table-toppers a game each time this season and we’ll aim to do that again. Hopefully, we will have a big away following because our fans are buzzing at the moment and it should be a really good atmosphere.”
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley on our premium site and an interview with Sammy Moore will follow later on.