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Tough decisions for Neal

28 April 2017

Team news ahead of Oldham on Sunday

Neal Ardley is determined that AFC Wimbledon’s first season in League One ends on a positive note, after what he described as a “horrible” week at the training ground.

and when I say that I mean players that are going to be with us next season, players that we might not be renewing, and might be renewing – all that kind of stuff.” “It’s been tough,” said Neal in an interview to Dons Player. “I think personally I’ve had to get through 28 reviews of players

“It’s not been pleasant, a lot of things have been said. I think the players felt I’ve been a bit harsh, but we move on and I’ve had a good chat with them today and nothing is ever personal – it’s just me trying to drive this club forward and take them with me.”

“So, that’s been tough and the players have felt it and I’ve certainly felt it, but hopefully we can end the week and go into our break now knowing where we stand going into next season. We want fans to go into the end of season celebration with a bit of a buzz over what they’ve just seen and hopefully that can be something that sparks us at the start of next season.”

The Dons will be without midfielder Tom Soares for the visit of Oldham Athletic for Sunday’s 12 noon kick-off, as Neal revealed the extent of the injury he suffered in the recent game against Peterborough United.

“We had some really bad news when Tom came off in the Peterborough game quite late on. He could hardly walk and he’d actually broken his ankle. He won’t be back until pre-season, at best halfway through pre-season. He’s had to have an operation, which he had yesterday.”

“Tom Elliott’s hamstring is still not right – so there is no point at this stage of the season and he won’t be fit.”

Neal also added that there are strong doubts over the fitness of defenders Jon Meades and Darius Charles on their participation against John Sheridan’s side.

“Darius and Jon are two players who picked up injuries from the Bradford game – Meadesey from that really bad tackle he had and had to come off and Darius had to come off at half-time as well – so we’re a little bit light in that respect.”

“What it does do is that the team we put out we’ll have every confidence in, have trained really well and some of the younger boys will be in the squad, so the squad as an 18 will be young and we get to find out a bit about them and we’ll have a good crack at it,” said Neal in upbeat fashion.

Neal admires the work John Sheridan has done at Oldham, having taken over since the two sides last met in a goalless draw in the away fixture in November.

“What a job he has done there! I think it’s gone under the radar a bit because before he went in there you looked and thought they could go down. They’ve ended up pulling away and being safe with two or three games to go. He’s worked miracles previously and he’s come back and done it again and that shows how good he is.

He’s a proper football man and his teams are always horrible to play against and we always have real battles with them, so I don’t expect anything different as they’ll be up for it.”

– there’s obviously things that would be great if we could achieve them, but most importantly for us after recent games it’s about trying to put in a really good performance.”th to 15th“For us, we want to finish on a high if we can and get the highest possible position we can in the league - which can be anything from 12

An extensive, eight minute interview with the manager is now available to Dons Player subscribers along with the thoughts of Scottish left-back Sean Kelly on his first season in English League football.

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