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Ryan relishes tough start

15 July 2016

Goalkeeper interviewed ahead of Margate friendly

New goalkeeper Ryan Clarke says he’s feeling fitter than ever after being put through his paces by Ashley Bayes during pre-season training.

Speaking to Dons Player ahead of tomorrow’s pre-season match at Margate, the experienced keeper has enjoyed his time at AFC Wimbledon so far and he believes his peak years are still to come.

“It has been very tough, but it was what I needed,” said Ryan. “I pride myself on working hard in training and ‘Bayzo’ has given me a new lease of life. They have been long days, but that’s to be expected at this time of year. ‘Bayzo’ is a great guy and I remember when I was a young up-and-coming professional he was one of the experienced keepers in the league. I played against him a few times and I can recall speaking to him in the tunnel! His enthusiasm drives us on every day.

“We have a great bunch of goalkeepers here and we are all pushing each other every day. There is big competition and we are making sure we do what’s required in training and games. ‘Bayzo’ is at the top pushing that. The main thing is that I’m looking forward to coming in every day, which is a nice feeling, even though it’s tough work.

“I think I’m the fittest I have ever been. I feel that I will be peaking in the next couple of years. It’s nice to come to a new club after what happened to me last year (at Northampton). I just have to keep my head down, work hard, and see what happens.”

The picture above shows (left to right) Jack Wingate, Joe McDonnell, Ashley Bayes, Ryan Clarke, James Shea and Joe Bursik.

Ryan has sensed the buzz around the place after last season’s promotion, but he believes there’s a determination to build upon it with a new challenge ahead in League One.

“I’ve been made to feel very welcome and there’s a confident calmness within the group as well,” Ryan added. “Everyone is still buzzing from last season, but at the same time they realise that is behind them. All the players seem positive, they are not sitting back and being negative. Everyone wants to do well in training and make sure that they get in the manager’s head to be selected for the first game. There is still quite a bit of pre-season to go. Everyone has to look after themselves, but do what they can to give the manager the option of being picked for the first game.”

The full interview with Ryan Clarke is on Dons Player, along with an update from Neil Cox ahead of the friendly at Margate Town tomorrow.


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