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Checkatrade Trophy preview

3 October 2016

Coach Simon Bassey looks ahead to Plymouth and Plough Lane

Recent signing Chris Robertson could be in line for his senior Dons debut as AFC Wimbledon shuffle the pack for tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy game against Plymouth Argyle (7.45pm kick-off at the Cherry Red Records Stadium).

First team-coach Simon Bassey also revealed midfielder George Francomb may figure too, when he spoke to Dons Player ahead of the first meeting with the Pilgrims since the Dons triumphed at Wembley over the Devon club in the League Two Play-Off Final at the end of May.

“Chris is involved in the squad and could be an option,” said Simon. “George Francomb is back in full training and has a gum shield on its way (having required dental work following a knock to the mouth in the victory at Charlton Athletic) so George could be back in contention. He maybe in for a couple of weeks and then out again, depending on how his teeth are going. If his teeth don’t firm up, he may have to have them redone and that would mean another period out the side, but at the moment he is available for selection.”

Manager Neal Ardley said defender Jon Meades (calves) and midfielder Tom Beere (hamstrings) were feeling the effects of a tough schedule of games after Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Gillingham, but Simon had an update on their fitness.

“They are both available for selection,” added Simon. “Tom had cramp and stretched his hamstring a little and felt a little bit fatigued, but he’ll be good to go. We’ve got some tired bodies that we may need to freshen up, but fitness wise everyone is available.”

The Dons beat Swansea City’s under-23 side 3-0 in their opening group game of the competition with two goals from form striker Dominic Poleon and one from Andy Barcham at Kingsmeadow. Plymouth are top of Southern Group B with the Dons second in the table. Our final group match is a trip to Newport County next month.

“We want to win it, we want to win every game we play,” said Simon about the Checkatrade Trophy. “I fully understand the fans frustrations, but as a team and a coach we want to do well in it. We will apply ourselves in the right manner and hopefully we can get another victory.”

Defender Karleigh Osborne, on loan to the Dons last season, joined Plymouth in the summer – along with Connor Smith who lined up for AFC Wimbledon in the Promotion play-off final. Osborne has been working on a return to full fitness from a thigh injury and could make his first appearance for Plymouth tomorrow night.

“It’s the first game since Wembley and Plymouth will be disappointed with it and I’m sure they’ll come to try and redress the balance, but it’s a competition where if you go well in it you go to Wembley again so I’m sure we’ll both be aiming for that prize.”

Simon also gave his reaction to the latest, positive development regarding our plans for a new stadium in Plough Lane. This can be seen by clicking on  “Simon Bassey on Plough Lane”   via our official YouTube club channel. Of course, there is still work to be done as you can see by reading Saturday’s  “From The  Boardroom”  programme article by Chief Executive Erik Samuelson.

“It’s fantastic! You couldn’t ask for better news. The Bring The Dons Home team and the club have done a fantastic job and conducted themselves fantastically throughout it all. It will be brilliant for everyone tied to the club, particularly me,” said the long-serving former player and current Dons coach.

The full interview with Simon Bassey, looking ahead to tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy group match against Plymouth Argyle, is now available to Dons Player subscribers.

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