Team news from Neal ahead of Saturday's game against Bury
Tom Elliott today returned to full training after illness and Neal Ardley could include the in-form striker in his squad to face Bury on Saturday.
Elliott missed the 5-0 win against Saturday’s opponents in the FA Cup and so too did Jon Meades with an ankle injury.
During his Thursday update for Dons Player, Neal added that Meades will be assessed ahead of Saturday, but Andy Barcham (hamstring) is likely to miss out, along with Darius Charles (thigh) and Sean Kelly (thigh).
“Jon came off on Tuesday (during the warm-up) and we are not quite sure where he is going to be in the grand scheme of things,” said Neal. “Darius is probably a week or two away from being ready to go again. We are hoping that Sean Kelly will get some playing time for Alan Reeves next week with a view to him being fit enough for the Checkatrade Trophy game.
“Tom has trained so we will see how he feels after a couple of training days and whether or not he feels strong enough to be in contention. Andy Barcham is probably going to be a couple of weeks, but the blessing is that it could be a little bit of a mid-season break for him and give him that freshness when other players are feeling a bit tired.
“People need to trust the staff’s knowledge of the players. Some players cannot handle loads of games and they need to be freshened up. Tom is certainly one of those. We will treat it as a freshening up exercise for him. We have a run of three or four games now and we are going to need Tom Elliott as well as the other three.”
Following the departure of David Flitcroft as Bury manager, Neal is expecting Saturday’s opponents to make it difficult for the Dons.
“With Dave going, my first thought is that they are not going to play quite the same as they have been,” added Neal. “They were very high tempo and 4-4-2 in the first cup game and in the league. Then on Tuesday night they went three at the back with a 3-5-2, 3-4-3 and 4-4-2 all in the same game and we managed to cope with it all.
minute and winning 1-0, then that’s what we’ll have to take. I would like the fans to be ready for a cagey game and not an open game like Tuesday when they gave us opportunities. We are going to have to manufacture them, while managing the load on our players.”th“Are they going to be ‘gung-ho’ after conceding nine goals in two games? I don’t think so. I think they will come and be very hard to beat. They will try and put in a really good away performance, break on us, and hurt us that way. We need to manage the expectations within ourselves. If it’s going to take us scoring in the 89
The full seven-minute update from Neal is on Dons Player and an interview with Chris Robertson will follow tomorrow.