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Strong squad pleases Neal

23 November 2015

Jake Reeves back in the frame after suspension

AFC Wimbledon will have Jake Reeves back in contention for selection tomorrow night and Neal Ardley said he is pleased with the options currently available in his squad.

Neal confirmed after training today that only James Shea, Andy Barcham and Will Nightingale are unavailable at the moment and he suggested it’s unlikely that another signing will be made before the close of the emergency loan window on Thursday at 5.00 pm.

Speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player ahead of the match against Dagenham & Redbridge, Neal said: “Jake (pictured) trained today with the boys and it is great that he has got the suspension out of the way. He will now be back in contention. We have virtually a full squad. We’re delighted and looking forward to the next two games. We are okay, but we know that a bad run can be around the corner if you drop your performance levels.

“We have got four strikers and they all know that they are up against each other. They also know though that they are part of something and they are going to play a part in any success that we have. ‘Bayzo’ always says it’s the team that starts and the squad that finishes.

"Certainly, the other day that was the case because three substitutes came on and all had a positive influence on the game. The biggest thing that we said to Ade (Azeez) is that he needed to change his mentality and stop being that Under-21 player in his head. He has done that this season.”

 The Wimbledon manager had spoken in recent weeks about the possibility of bringing in another defender, but with three days left there have been no stand-out candidates from elsewhere.

“We have had a look, but it’s really important that we don’t bring someone in for the sake of it,” Neal added. “If we are bringing a player in they need to be better than what we already have. If not, then we will go with what we’ve got and hope we do not pick up any injuries. We will see.”

Though Dagenham & Redbridge are currently bottom of League 2, Neal is fully aware that they cannot be taken lightly, especially if Jamie Cureton is in the kind of form that saw him score a hat-trick against the Dons in April.

“The reason he is so good – and we have talked about it to our strikers – is that he plays on the shoulders of defenders and anticipates mistakes,” said Neal. “It was something that Matt Tubbs did well for us. When the slip-up happens or the ball-watching and the space opens up, he is always there to get on the end of it and he is a very good finisher. If he plays tomorrow night then for 90 minutes we have to make sure we are aware of what he brings.

“They are fighting for their lives, but I watched the game against Oxford and for large spells you would not have known the team near the top and the team at the bottom. They are not going to be easy and we will have to get our performance levels high to get a result.”

The full update from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with Jake Reeves.

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