Defender to be assessed tomorrow
Neal Ardley said he will check on the fitness of centre-back Semi Ajayi before selecting his squad for Morecambe on Saturday.
On-loan centre-back Ajayi was forced to come off at Oxford after a clash of heads, but Neal Ardley revealed that his recuperation has been carefully managed by club physio Stuart Douglas.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “Semi has a slight fracture in the bottom of his nose, but providing he has not got any signs of headaches or anything like that it will be all systems go for him. Stuart has done a great job this week.
“He has had to go through the protocol of making sure there are no signs of concussion and that Semi is mentally and physically okay. He has gone through a training schedule this week with plenty of cardiovascular work. Semi will be back with the rest of the squad tomorrow and if he comes through training he will be available for selection.
“There were a few players that just needed to be managed in the early part of the week, but they are all good now. We had a good fitness session on Tuesday and they have all trained really hard for Saturday. We will treat these three tough games coming up with the utmost respect.”
Following defeat at Oxford last Saturday, Neal has stressed to his players about believing in themselves and he is confident that the squad can start realising its potential.
We should be saying ‘this is what we do’ and if we do it well the performances and chances will come. “Belief is a massive thing,” added Neal. “We have got a mantra of what we are trying to do and how we do it. We have a philosophy with principles of play that we work really hard at it during the week. We try and use that when we are up against it in games. It should be our thing that we fall back on.
“There is that element of belief. We are 12 games in now and we have got some tough games coming up, but I think the boys are starting to really grasp the team stuff now and working for the team. They are now saying we should be better off and it is about how we can translate all our thoughts and beliefs into more consistent and positive results. I think we should be several points better off, but we are not and that is the frustrating thing. There is that missing link and we are working hard to find out what it is.
“Jim Bentley has done a wonderful job at Morecambe and they had a great result at Carlisle last week. Their away form is good and they are one of those teams who are often coupon-busters away from home. We have to do everything right in our performances to make sure that’s not the case on Saturday.”
The full six-minute video update from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with Andy Barcham.