Centre-back in line for return tomorrow
AFC Wimbledon Under-21s will be boosted for tomorrow’s tough test at AFC Bournemouth by the return of centre-back Ryan Sweeney.
Sweeney (pictured), who made three first-team appearances at the end of 2014/15, has been back training after suffering a broken nose in pre-season and coach Alan Reeves confirmed that he will strengthen the defensive ranks against the Cherries.
It will be AFC Wimbledon’s second Final Third Development match of the season after beating Cambridge United two weeks ago.
Joe McDonnell, David Fitzpatrick, Dan Gallagher and Egli Kaja were all unused substitutes for the first-team at Mansfield on Saturday and they will all be involved tomorrow. Alan Reeves will also check on the fitness of Tom Beere (foot) and George Oakley (hamstring) before assessing whether they can be involved or not.
During an interview for Dons Player, Alan Reeves spoke about the qualities his rising talents need to show if they want to earn more first-team opportunities.
“When these players have had a sniff of being in the first-team it can give them confidence when they go back to the Under-21s,” said Alan. “They get to realise what being a professional footballer is all about. I am sure once they have a taste of it they will want more. The only way to do that is to keep performing day in and day out. When the manager asks me if a certain player is ready I want to be able to say ‘yes’.
“They just have to keep improving and always be in the manager’s face. They have to forget that they are Under-18 or Under-21 players. Dan Gallagher has to shine more than Jake Reeves, Dannie Bulman and Tom Beere. Can Egli shine more than David Fitzpatrick, Andy Barcham, Sean Rigg or George Francomb? They have to keep learning from the senior players every day, but also be after their shirts.
“Whether it is senior professionals coming into my squad or the younger lads, I expect them to treat these games the same as they would if they were playing for the first-team. I demand 100 per cent effort, endeavour, and for them to help each other as a team.”
The match tomorrow is a 1.00 pm kick-off.
The full interview with Alan Reeves is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with Egli Kaja after his inclusion in the first-team squad at Mansfield on Saturday.