Full-back steps up his recovery
Jack Smith has handed the Dons a boost ahead of a hectic spell of fixtures by returning to full training today.
The left-back has not featured since 29 November at home to Cambridge United when he suffered a thigh strain, but Smith has now taken a big step towards full fitness.
Though Saturday’s match at Morecambe will come too soon, Neal Ardley expects to have the experienced defender back during February.
Speaking to Rob Cornell during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “It’s great to have Jack back because he’s a good character and a very good player. We put a programme in place for Jack and he has completed a mini pre-season with the physio team and Jason Moriarty.
“Now Jack has come back into training and we will be building him up for U-21 games. If we can get 60 minutes and a full 90 game into him then I’m sure Jack will play a part in our busy spell of games coming up.”
Neal Ardley reported that a couple of players suffered injury knocks during training today and they will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s game against Morecambe. However, he is reluctant to take risks with players’ fitness ahead of a hectic February schedule.
“There may be a couple of players missing from the 18 that are normally in the squad,” added Neal. “They came in with knocks today and with such a busy schedule ahead we cannot afford to take chances. We did a presentation to the boys this morning because we need to try and keep everyone as fresh physically and mentally as we can.
“We’ve had a chat with the players about taking rest and recovery. We will monitor them and we’ve already got the next 36 days planned out. We know everything that we want to achieve as staff. The team will be rejigged about a bit because very few players will be able to play all nine games in 35 days.”
Defender Jake Goodman is definitely ruled out for Morecambe with a toe injury.
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full update from Neal Ardley and an interview with David Connolly will follow tomorrow.