Neal's Dons Player update ahead of Luton
Neal Ardley has confirmed that James Shea returned to full training today and he's ready to go again for the visit of Luton Town on Saturday.
Neal said that the 23-year-old goalkeeper had been thoroughly checked over by Wimbledon’s medical team after being stretchered off against Shrewsbury last Saturday. The outcome is that Shea has fully recovered from mild concussion and he did not suffer a broken nose, something that was reported elsewhere.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “It did look bad at first, but the physio team did the right thing and he was quick to come back round. He was great after the game. Obviously, we would not take any risks with anyone who has had concussion, but James is fine now. He wanted to train on Tuesday, but we kept him out of that. He has trained today and is absolutely fine. He is looking forward to the game so that is a real positive.”
With the home match against Luton on Saturday starting a run of three games in eight days, Neal Ardley believes he has enough squad options to freshen up the team effectively.
Experienced full-back Jack Smith is now deemed ready to return for first team action after two games for the development squad and the Wimbledon manager is considering bringing him back in during the next week.
“At half time on Tuesday I felt he had not overlapped the wide man enough and I told him to push himself,” Neal added. “I said that next week I’m going to need him and I wanted Jack to get to the point of real fatigue. Jack is so good on the ball and very rarely gives it away. Everything therefore is very comfortable for him and he can play in his sleep! He pushed himself harder in the second half though and we feel that the two games have put him spot-on. We have great options with our full-backs and if we need to freshen them up next week – I’m sure we will do – then Jack can play in any of those positions.
“The idea in January was to come out with a squad of 18 to 20 players that was better than we had before. Previously we felt we had a strong starting 11, but not as many options as we would have liked. We have worked on that and now we have better options. It would be very strange and foolish of me to say that this is the team I am playing every week until someone gets injured.
“We need to use these players. We signed David Connolly, Alfie Potter and Craig Tanner and we need to see these play. With so many games coming up they will get game-time that’s for sure.”
Neal Ardley’s full six-minute update is now on Dons Player, and an interview with new loan signing Dave Winfield will feature later on.