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Neal relishes tough spell

27 September 2016

Manager interviewed ahead of Coventry

Neal Ardley said he is looking forward to the challenge of getting the best from his squad during a packed run of fixtures coming up.

The Dons tomorrow travel to Coventry City in the final game of September, before a run of seven matches in all competitions during October.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, the manager said: “It’s a big test physically and mentally. I’ve looked at it and we’ve got seven games in 25 days, but we are looking forward to it. You want to play games and you train to play games.

“The staff have to plan ahead and maybe schedule the week. We have to make sure there is a little bit of flexibility within the squad. You cannot keep flogging the same players every week because you will pick-up injuries. We are all good, other than George Francomb. We will carry 19 players around with us for the next few games. Hopefully, we will still have 19 after seven more games!”

A 4-3-3 formation was deployed for the 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury on Saturday and the manager added that it’s important to be flexible depending upon the demands of a game.

“Last season we were flexible,” Neal said. “At times, we changed shape a couple of times during games. Sometimes you do all your work during the week and it does not seem to work on a Saturday. You might be playing 4-4-2 and you cannot get your wide men in the game so you have to think about going to a three. We’ve done that several times and it’s proved to be effective.

“It is the staff’s jobs to assess it as the game is going on. We’ve done a lot of work today ahead of tomorrow’s game and if the players can execute it as you hope we will not need to change the shape.

“Nothing surprises you in football and this is a tough league. Coventry have a fairly young squad and Tony Mowbray has alluded to that. They are a good team. I watched them against Millwall and they were really good. They out-passed them at times. On Saturday against Gillingham there was nothing between the two teams. I don’t think you can ever turn up thinking, ‘they are below us or anything like that.’ They are at home and they move the ball around really well.”

 The full update from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with Dean Parrett. 

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