Manager's Thursday bulletin ahead of game
Neal Ardley said he will check on the fitness of Chris Whelpdale tomorrow before deciding whether the winger is ready to return to the squad for Swindon Town on Saturday.
Whelpdale played for 70 minutes for the development squad on Tuesday, but he has been struggling to shake off an ankle injury. The manager also indicated that Saturday may come too soon for Tom Beere, George Francomb and Sean Kelly.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player ahead of the Swindon game, Neal said: “Chris has had an injection in his ankle and he just felt it after 70 minutes the other day. It normally takes two weeks for it to make a difference after an injection, but hopefully he will get progressively better. We will see how he is in training tomorrow as to whether he can be back in the fold.
“Tom Beere is still not quite right, George Francomb’s hamstring is a little bit tight, and Sean Kelly has been out with a thigh injury. We have a few niggles going into a busy schedule.
“It is a big week coming up, as far as we are going to try and use as much of the squad as we can. I think this game and moving onto Bury is not as much of a problem – there is enough recovery time there. But after the Bury game I don’t think we will get back until 3 or 4 am in the morning. Then it’s about how we get the sleep and recovery into the boys before Peterborough away.
“We have to look at it; see who can play three games in a week, who can play two, and where we chop and change it. We will take each game on its individual merits.”
The Dons go into Saturday’s match aiming to extend a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions and the team ethic of his squad has been most impressive for the manager.
“The work-rate throughout the team has been outstanding,” said Neal. “We pride ourselves on being a hard-working team. I talked at the start of the season about us lacking that bit of togetherness. We do not want a blame culture here, but there was a little bit of people looking after themselves. We’ve worked hard as staff, with ‘Coxy’ and ‘Bass’, to go around the group and get everyone understanding the team ethic.
“I think we’ve got to the point now of players looking out for each other a bit more. We’ve got that collective attitude of, ‘we win together and we lose together’. That’s showing in our performances. We’ve managed to build a bit of momentum, but you know in this league it can quickly go the other way.”
An extensive update from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and an interview with Dannie Bulman also features on our premium channel.