Preview of tomorrow's League 2 match
Neal Ardley has confirmed that Ade Azeez has returned to full training ahead of tomorrow’s game against Stevenage and he is pleased with the current strength of his squad.
Azeez (pictured) suffered a thigh injury playing for the development side against Southend, but he joined in full training yesterday and will therefore add to the manager’s forward options.
Though it’s too early for Andy Barcham and James Shea to make the frame, both have trained all week and could feature in the Final Third Development League match against Cambridge on Monday.
With youngsters David Fitzpatrick and Egli Kaja both pushing for places in the squad after fine displays for the Under-21s, Neal Ardley is pleased with the options at his disposal.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Ade has trained after doing a lot of work with Stuart Douglas earlier in the week. James and Andy have trained as well and that’s lifted everyone to have good players back. They are not quite at the levels required yet, but hopefully they will play for the Under-21s on Monday.
“It’s good now because when you look around we also have David Fitzpatrick, who played really well for the Under-21s on Monday after returning from his loan spell and Egli Kaja has also trained well. The levels have gone back up now and that can only be good.
“We need the young lads to push on and improve. We want them to be in the reckoning and they did that with the performances on Monday (6-2 win v Bournemouth). They had a lull earlier in the season, but they were outstanding on Monday. Hopefully, that will continue because it will keep our squad very healthy.”
Stevenage visit the Cherry Red Records Stadium tomorrow defending a five-match unbeaten run, though they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Yeovil Town last weekend.
In his first season as manager, former England international Teddy Sheringham has gradually engineered improvement after a difficult start and Neal Ardley has been impressed with his work in the loan market.
However, the Dons will be eager to make an impression after a two-week spell without a game.
“We have done a bit of everything in training and last week we did a lot of fitness work,” added Neal. “We tried to freshen the players up at the weekend and we’ve also put sessions on as a team with players taking responsibility for composing themselves and taking our chances. We feel we have got the balance right and there will be no excuses. Hopefully, it will all come together and we will put in a good performance on Saturday.
“In pre-season Stevenage were still trying to get the players in and they were finding their feet. They were also trying to adapt their style and that can cause problems. But what he has done is used the loan market very well. I look at their team now and they are as good as most teams in this league, if not better. They have picked up and we are playing them at a time when they are in good form in the league. They have got good players and we know it is going to be tough.”
Neal’s full five-minute update featured on Dons Player yesterday and an interview with Dannie Bulman will be on our premium channel later on.
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