Manager says he is "doubtful" for trip to Merseyside
Neal Ardley has confirmed that he will be undergoing a hip operation tomorrow and he is unlikely to attend Wimbledon’s match at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
Neal revealed that he had put meticulous plans in place for assistant Neil Cox and first-team coach Simon Bassey to oversee preparations and match day managerial duties for Tranmere.
“We did a lot of work on Tuesday, including preparing everything for training on Thursday and leading up to Saturday,” Neal said today. “We have been in constant dialogue about the team and stuff like that. Hopefully, they will not need me on Saturday!
“After you have prepared the squad all week and named the team, there is not a lot you can do after that. The only thing you can do is at half-time to address what has happened during the game. I am not looking forward to 3.00 pm on Saturday though as I would prefer to be there with the team.”
Neal (who is pictured centre above with Dave Bassett and Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Adams before the 2-2 draw at home to Rovers in October) added that he expects to be on crutches for two weeks after his operation.
“It is doubtful I will be there on Saturday,” said Neal. “We have put a process in place in case I feel up to it, but it might be too much for me. I am likely to be on crutches for two weeks and then it will be a long road back and maybe a number of months before I get back to where I want to be. You cannot pick your time when it is being done through the NHS and I have been waiting for 18 months.
“I need some bone shaved off and I have a tear in my labral around the hip joint. This affects my left side. I can still take training, but the operation is more for my well-being. Similar to a lot of footballers, I think it is down to wear and tear. I cannot do much exercise and that is something I had got used to doing during the last 15 to 20 years.”
All at AFC Wimbledon hope that Neal’s operation is a success and we wish him well in his recuperation.