Goalkeeper is back in the frame for Saturday
Neal Ardley today confirmed that goalkeeper James Shea is in contention to make his first appearance of pre-season against Millwall on Saturday.
The 24-year-old, who missed the games against Watford and Basingstoke with an ankle injury, could get minutes during the last pre-season match before AFC Wimbledon travel to La Manga.
With Wimbledon again facing higher level opposition for the second successive Saturday, Neal Ardley wants a similar level of performance to the one that caused Premier League Watford so many problems.
As well as Shea being back in the frame, Saturday will also offer an opportunity for many fans to get a first glimpse of in-form striker Lyle Taylor after his superb hat-trick at Basingstoke.
“James has trained today and he needs minutes so he comes back into contention,” Neal said. “Callum Kennedy had a bit of a swollen ankle from the other day, but he should be fit. The aim will be to go out and give a team from the league above a really good game, like we did against Watford. There will also be another group of players getting an hour. We will step Lyle Taylor up steadily and he may get 45 minutes.
“We are trying to get patterns into our play and to make sure that our defending from the front is good and our shape. That has not been the case at times in our pre-season friendlies, but we have a few more games to get it right.”
Neal, who spent a season during his playing days at Millwall, added that there is plenty to work on after Tuesday’s 3-1 victory at Basingstoke.
“I do not like us losing in pre-season because I want to try and create that winning mentality,” Neal said. “I thought Basingstoke put in a very good performance on Tuesday and caused us different problems. But you don’t want it to be plain sailing and then find when you get to the league season that there are other things going wrong.
“The pleasing thing was that when we did get it right, particularly in the last half hour after making the substitutions, they could not get out of their half at times. That is what we are aiming for and we have enough quality to deliver some great end product. We scored three very good goals, but there were some frustrations. There is a bit to work on and we don’t think we are the finished article. We have new players and some different shapes and systems to work on, but we could take some positives in the end from Tuesday.”
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The full five-minute update from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with Will Nightingale.