Manager interviewed after Margate
Neal Ardley felt that yesterday’s draw at Margate was a step in the right direction, but he knows that there is plenty of work to do before the big kick-off on Saturday 6 August.
The squad depart on Monday for a training camp at the Celtic Manor resort before hosting Championship side Reading on Saturday.
Speaking to Dons Player after yesterday’s 1-1 draw in Kent, Neal said: “They pressed us high and had a good energy about them. Sometimes 3-0 or 4-0 wins if you get them in pre-season do not tell you much. We still have loads to work on and it is difficult when you have three-and-a-half weeks extra with the play-offs. You want your players to go away and do nothing because if they only have a week or so it will catch-up with them later in the season.
“After talking with experienced players who know their bodies they are saying that they are still a little bit rusty and that is going to happen. We have had two weeks of training and at this stage we would now normally be having our first game, but we understand where we are. I am not going to cry about the fact that we did not win the game, but at the same time we want to try and build that winning mentality again.
“We are really happy with it compared to Tuesday. I felt that we were physically better, even though there is stuff that we technically need to work on. It was a good test so I am really pleased. Sometimes when you play teams in pre-season they are a bit ahead of you in terms of fitness. Dover looked like they were and so did Margate to a degree. Though you should be ahead because of where you are in the league pyramid, it gets caught up a little bit by the physical side.”
Neal believes that heading to South Wales for three days will prepare his squad well for a tough challenge against Reading.
“We will train on Monday, then travel down to Celtic Manor, and stay there for three nights,” said Neal. “We will do some intense fitness work on Tuesday as well as tactical stuff and it will be the same on Thursday. On Wednesday we will probably have a round of golf and get a bit of team bonding in. We will spend some time together before coming back for a busy week leading up to the season. We have a tough week with Reading, Palace, Dagenham and Woking and by the last weekend before the season we want to be getting close to our peak.”
The full update from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player, along with interviews with Toyosi Olusanya and Alfie Egan.