Left-back stakes claim with return after injury
Neal Ardley today confirmed that Jon Meades has returned to full training after five weeks out with an ankle injury.
The left-back (pictured) is in contention for Monday’s play-off final at Wembley, along with Connor Smith, who has not figured since damaging his neck in the victory against Newport.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “With our physio Stuart Douglas and Jason Moriarty we planned the week for the players trying to get over injuries. Jon and Connor have both trained all week and they’ve trained hard as well. It’s great from our point of view. These two had not been in our squad, but now they are both available.
“We’ve had a couple of little niggles since the semi-final. We tried to take a deep breath and let the players get over them so that they could come back into consideration. We always said that Saturday and Sunday would be the time when we’ve got to pick our shape and that would depend upon how many players we would have available. The way it’s looking everyone we expected to be available will be. If nothing goes wrong between now and the game we will be in a good place.”
One player who has staked his claim for a pivotal role in the final is Bayo Akinfenwa and Neal has been delighted with his contribution in recent matches.
“Bayo had a spell when he had to adapt to being on the bench after Tom Elliott came into the team and that was tough for him,” added Neal. “But he has got his mojo back and that has been the case for the past month or two. You could see that in training every day.
“His performance against Newport was excellent and he was immense in both legs of the semi-final. His performance off the pitch and around the training ground has also been immense. With Ade, Bayo, Lyle, Tom, and Rhys we have bundles of options up there. The main thing is keeping everyone fit, healthy and mentally strong and when we get to Monday I will have a problem on my hands.”
The full update from Neal Ardley ahead of the play-off final will be on Dons Player tomorrow. Interviews with Lyle Taylor and Paul Robinson are now on our premium channel and we will feature plenty more build-up in the coming days.