Team news from Neal ahead of trip to the Pirelli Stadium
Neal Ardley has confirmed that centre-back Will Nightingale is ruled out of tomorrow’s match at League 2 leaders Burton Albion.
The 19-year-old (pictured above) was withdrawn due to a knee injury at half-time of Saturday’s win against Newport and he was due to have a scan today, but George Francomb has shaken off a hamstring strain.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “My first instinct is that he has an MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) injury, but Stuart Douglas has sent Will for a scan. We are just waiting for the results of that, but I think it will be a few weeks for Will to get that right.
“George had a bit of hamstring trouble on Saturday, but he did everything today at training and he should be part of the squad for sure.”
The Dons take on a Burton side currently top of League 2 with manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink having engineered a brilliant run of six successive wins at the Pirelli Stadium. However, Neal Ardley believes there is a great spirit in the Dons camp at the moment. In particular, Wimbledon have made good strides defensively with just two goals conceded in the last three games.
“Gary Rowett did a great job and Jimmy had the good fortune in many ways to take over one of the better sides in the league,” added Neal. “But Jimmy has also done a wonderful job so far because it is never easy in your first managerial job. He has worked out what this league is all about and he’s not tinkered too much. They try and get the ball down and play when they can. Since Jimmy has taken over they have not lost at home and they are top of the form table. That bodes well for him as a manager.”
The Dons will be defending a three-game unbeaten run tomorrow night though after putting a difficult start to 2015 behind them.
“We will go there in good spirits,” added Neal. “There is a nice buzz around the camp at the moment. We put a lot of work into January and we wanted to make sure that we had a better squad, not just looking at our starting 11. When I looked at the bench on Saturday I could have put any one of them on as a substitute and I would have felt comfortable. Going into the game tomorrow night I’m looking at it happy that one or two can step into the team.
“Recruitment is important and we brought in Jake Goodman and Deji Oshilaja at the back. Deji has been wonderful in the last few weeks. Neil Cox and Alan Reeves have also done a lot of repetitive work with the back line, it has not come about due to luck. Barry Fuller is captain at the moment and he is revelling on being the senior boy in defence and leading by example.
“All the back four have been playing well, including Mark Phillips in the second half on Saturday. They are going to make mistakes – we know that – but they seem to be clicking and that’s down to repetitive work on the training field.”
Dons Player subscribers can listen to the full interview with Neal Ardley, along with the thoughts of Mark Phillips on his return.
if you missed our announcement about ticket prices for this match.Young DonsAlan Reeves also brings us up to date with the latest from the development squad ahead of their London Senior Cup tie against Corinthian Casuals tomorrow night. Click on