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Team news: Dons v Shrews

22 September 2016

Update from the manager ahead of home game

Neal Ardley will assess the fitness of midfielder Jake Reeves before selecting his squad to face Shrewsbury on Saturday.

Reeves (pictured) has been struggling with illness, but he was back in training today. Neal added that Saturday’s game will come too soon for George Francomb after he suffered a facial injury that required stitches in the win at Charlton.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Jake was ill earlier in the week, but he came back in and trained today. We will monitor him tomorrow and see if he is up to playing. We have so many games coming up that we may have to look at it in its entirety to make sure that the team selection is right for the next four or five matches.

“George is back, but he needed to have stitches in his gum. He has had to have his jaw a little bit reset, it’s been a tough one for him. It will need a week or so to get over it so that he is back to where he needs to be.”

Defender Chris Robertson is pushing to make his first appearance for Wimbledon after an impressive outing for the development squad on Tuesday and Neal added that there will be squad rotation in the coming weeks.

“Chris was rusty when he first arrived and that was only to be expected, but he has trained really well,” said Neal. “I spoke to Alan Reeves after Tuesday’s game and he said that Chris was exceptional, which is great. You want your two centre-backs and Will Nightingale to be looking at it and thinking that there is that competition for places. We have loads of games coming up so hopefully Chris will be getting his opportunity soon.

“I want to have tough decisions when I’m talking to the staff about who plays. You want them all to be training really well so that you cannot find a space for them even when you want to, rather than wondering who is least likely to let you down.

“We are looking at the functioning of the team, rather than the individual. I’ve told the boys there will be rotation in the squad as I feel we are strong enough to do it. We will certainly need to use the squad in the coming weeks and I will not be afraid to mix it up in terms of systems and personnel.”

With Ryan Clarke having left the club, Neal says it offers an opportunity for James Shea or Joe McDonnell to compete for the regular number one spot.

“They both did really well in pre-season and have trained well since,” said Neal. “We are going to give them the opportunity to show that they can be number one at this level – that’s all we can do. If either of them got injured we would have a possible chance of an emergency loan, we are still covered by that. Hopefully they will both keep training really well and if they can prove they are up to the level and can take this team forward, we will give them that opportunity.”

  , along with an interview with Paul Robinson.Dons PlayerThe full seven-minute update from Neal Ardley is now on 

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