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13 November 2015

Squad strengthened for Pompey game

Neal Ardley has confirmed that Bayo Akinfenwa and George Francomb are both in line to be back in the squad for Sunday’s League 2 match at promotion contenders Portsmouth.

Francomb (pictured) suffered a dead leg in training last Friday and therefore missed the FA Cup defeat to Forest Green, but he has been back in full training this week and Akinfenwa has also recovered from the thigh injury that kept him out.

Defender Ryan Sweeney is ruled out as he is on international duty with Republic of Ireland U-19s.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley talked positively about the challenge that awaits his side at Fratton Park in Sunday’s televised match.

“We all want to win games and we want to bounce back from Saturday,” said Neal. “We were all down after that, but we have had a longer week to get over it and that has been great. For me as a manager, it is exciting to pit my wits against a very good footballing team who play an open and expansive style. If you get it wrong tactically they will cause you problems and open you up, but we don’t want to just go there and park the bus.

“They have drawn a lot of games at home and you can read into that what you want, but there have been quite a few teams that have gone there and just sat back to defend. They have not attacked them and had a go at them. We want to be able to say afterwards that we had a go, but at the same time we have to be respectful of how good they are going to be.”

Neal added that he is very pleased with the strength of his current squad and he will assess later this month if a loan addition is required.

“We only have Andy Barcham, James Shea and Will Nightingale out injured,” Neal said. “Everyone else is fine at the moment. We are delighted with the squad that we have to select from and hopefully nothing will happen before Sunday like it did last week with George.

“The loan window closes on the last Thursday of November and then you are stuck with what you have got until January. The only position we are long-term light in is at centre-back with Will being out for the season. That is something we need to look at. We will assess if there is anyone good enough to come in and if it is something we want to do. But we want the squad to keep doing what they are doing at the moment.”

The full interview with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and an interview with Bayo Akinfenwa will appear tomorrow.

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