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Neal: win was important

31 August 2016

Manager said that players are knocking on the door for recalls

Neal Ardley said it was significant for his players to experience that “winning feeling” again last night after a difficult season so far.

The manager hopes that getting back among the goals by beating Swansea in the Checkatrade Trophy will serve his squad well for Saturday when the Dons are back in League One action at home to Chesterfield.

  , Neal said: “I know our club’s opinion on the competition and I totally agree with that, but we had played six games and not managed to win any of them. We wanted to get that winning feeling back. We did not want to take anyone lightly. We wanted to be really strong, but Darius was sick on Monday and he had to be ruled out. ‘Robbo’ had a sore knee after Saturday too so we ended up with a bit of a makeshift back four.Dons PlayerSpeaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for 

“George Francomb was excellent at right-back and he has matured in that position from the time when he first came here a few years ago. It was brilliant for George to get 90 minutes and Barry Fuller was excellent at centre-back. We wanted to be really good without the ball and I knew Swansea would force us to do that. They had some good players, their wingers were quick, and we obviously knew about Marvin Emnes, who played in the number 10 role. We could easily have got pulled about a lot by their open, expansive football, but we did not.

“We defended well, but we attacked well too. Though we’ve picked up away points recently, we had not quite managed to get that right recently. We had lost a bit of our attacking flow going forward and we are just trying to get that balance right. We want to be strong without the ball and cause teams problems going forward too. There was a lot to be positive about on the night, but it was really important to win. The players have not had that feeling in the dressing room and that is what they needed. We want to try and take that into Saturday now.”

Neal added that front men Dominic Poleon and Tyrone Barnett are now pressing for first-team starts after last night’s game.

“Dominic has grabbed another couple of goals to add to the ones he scored last week, which is great,” said Neal. “I know that Tyrone is going to score for us and that will come soon. We have said to the front four that there are no first choices.

“At the start of this season we felt that Tom and Lyle knew their roles a bit better. If you look back to the start of last season we had to do a bit of work with them to get them up to speed. The same applies to Dominic and Tyrone. They are now edging closer to saying ‘now you can pick me’ and that’s the sort of problem I want.

“I want Tom Beere to be asking why he is not playing and George Francomb to be saying ‘surely I need a starting place’. Dean Parrett was also all-action in there. That is what we want for the coming games.”

The full interview with Neal is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with George Francomb after his return to first-team match action.

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