By Chris Slavin
Callum Kennedy can't wait to play league football for AFC Wimbledon again – and he believes that Neal Ardley's men can rise to the challenge of taking on bigger clubs.
The League One campaign starts with a tough assignment tomorrow at Scunthorpe – a club denied promotion in the play-offs last season – but Callum is looking forward to it and the challenges that lie ahead.
Callum, who spent 2012/13 with Scunthorpe, said: "They had a really good season last time and they will be looking to impress again. It is definitely going to be a tough one, but I think it is going to be a test, followed by a test, all season long. We are relishing it and that is when we are at our best. I am looking forward to the challenge. The league is stacked with quality and it is possibly going to be the strongest League One there has ever been. The teams who have come up – Portsmouth, Plymouth and Doncaster – had the biggest stadiums in League 2. Then you look at the teams coming down from the Championship - Blackburn, Wigan, and Rotherham – and it makes it exciting. I love it when you get to test yourself against the bigger teams.
"When I was here before I realised that the manager and his coaching staff were always trying to do the utmost they possibly could with what they were given to work with. The coaching staff try to reap the full benefits of that with any one or two per cent extra that they can get. When you go away for a year and come back, you see the culmination of all of that with the one or two per cents coming together. We have a new changing room at the training ground for the first time, the lunch room is a bit different. When you put all the little details together they can make a big difference."
The full interview with Callum can be watched on our new iFollow channel.
Click on the link below to hear from Callum about what it means to be back playing for Wimbledon and we also ask him for his funniest team-mate!
The left-back, who is enjoying his third spell at AFC Wimbledon, was quick to acknowledge the warm welcome he's received from Dons fans as he looks to put a tough season at Leyton Orient behind him.
"It's been an amazing response," added Callum. "Most people know that we have a special fan base and it's a more personal relationship that you have with them. When I left, they sent me nice messages that meant a great deal to me and my family. To come back and see the same faces again and have conversations with them, it will continue to be a nice feeling. I am over the moon to be back, I feel lucky to be back, and now it's time to get to work."
"Last season was tough and I felt sorry for the Leyton Orient fans. It was not the season that they, the team, or I wanted. It was not a very good working environment, but I always feel that you have to take anything you possibly can from situations like that. You have to see if you can learn from those times. I definitely learnt a few things that I still feel have put me in good stead to be back here at a place where I can thoroughly enjoy it again. I am very much looking forward to playing against Scunthorpe on Saturday, but more so playing for Wimbledon again. I am excited by the season ahead."
Visit iFollow for the full interview with Callum and Neal Ardley's update, ahead of Scunthorpe.