Under-21s at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday
Alan Reeves has called on AFC Wimbledon’s young talents to rise to the challenge at Kenilworth Road tomorrow (1.00 pm kick-off) and grasp potential opportunities to impress Neal Ardley.
AFC Wimbledon head to Luton Town in the Final Third Development League Cup just four days before a League 2 clash between the two clubs at the same venue.
Though AFC Wimbledon were knocked out of the Under-21 Premier League Cup at Plymouth last Tuesday, Under-18s Neset Bellikli, Jason Stripp and Reece Batchelor all did their chances of progressing further no harm at Home Park. That trio were rewarded by training with the first-team squad last week and Alan wants others to step forward and earn opportunities to impress Neal Ardley.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Alan said: “Neset, Jason and Reece all came on and did ever so well. We try to reward U-18 and U-21 players who work hard in training and do well in games. The manager called me on Wednesday and asked me who did well and I said the three who came on as substitutes. They were rewarded by training with the first-team on Thursday.
“With lads I have coached at other clubs in the past you know they are not taking it in when you are telling them stuff. The boys we have got here are not like that; they are keen, willing to learn, and are a joy to work with.
“There will come a stage when they will get their chance because of injuries, suspensions and loss of form. They have to keep working hard and taking information in. When the question comes asking if a certain player is ready I want to be saying ‘yes’. I am not going to do that for the sake of it. It is important for the first-team to do well and I am not going to put my reputation on the line by recommending that we put a lad in who is not ready.”
The in-depth interview with Alan Reeves about his coaching role at the club and how he hopes to bring more youngsters through to the first-team is on Dons Player.
Luton started the campaign by winning 7-0 against Gillingham in defence of securing the Final Third Development League South title last season.
Alan added: “Luton have a big squad and last season they tended to play strong sides containing senior professionals in Under-21 games. That is fine because some of our young lads need to be able to stand up against men. If and when they do get into the first-team that is what they will be coming up against.
“After Plymouth last week I said to the boys that we had to make sure it was a blip. We want to get back to the levels of our first two games. It’s a perfect game for us because it’s at Kenilworth Road against an experienced Luton side. I am very confident that we will be able to step-up to it.”
Tomorrow’s match is open to spectators with entry prices at £2 for adults and £1 for concessions.