Neal's update ahead of match at Gillingham on Tuesday
Midfielder Dean Parrett could return to the AFC Wimbledon squad for tomorrow night’s match at Gillingham after shaking off an ankle injury.
Dean had hoped to return for the game against Charlton recently, but the injury was not quite right, and now he is ready to be pitched back into action.
Centre-back Chris Robertson is an injury doubt after suffering a knock to his shoulder, but Will Nightingale is continuing to find his fitness after putting a knee injury behind him.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Will has only had a week to 10 days of training and a game (for the development squad), but he is getting closer now. Dean Parrett trained and he comes into contention for the squad. Chris trained today, but he felt his shoulder so he is a doubt for tomorrow.”
We announced last week that Barry Fuller had suffered a pectoral muscle injury and Neal added that it was too early to assess how long our captain could be out for.
“We still do not know the timescales for Barry,” added Neal. “It’s all dependent upon if he needs an operation or not. If he has an operation, it will be season over, but if there is a way of doing it without that, it might just be six weeks.”
Though disappointed by the manner of Saturday’s loss at Shrewsbury – a last-minute winner defeated the Dons – Neal felt it was a step in the right direction.
“You have to take the positives from everything to try and find a way of improving, but certainly for the confidence of the players they need to know that they played well on Saturday. I’ve watched it back, looked at the stats, and we were the better team. We had the better chances and if we can carry that forward and add to it, hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves in the next two games.
“We snatched a bit at chances and we were not on the move in the box enough for others. That was the part we did not get right, but it is the part that decides games. We did not get it right in both boxes, but there were a lot of good patterns. In the two previous games we had not got into good areas and created enough so that was a plus, but obviously we would prefer to get the points from the game, rather than the out and out performance.
“I thought that Andy Barcham had a really productive game on Saturday and that is a positive. If we can get the spark and confidence back into our forward players, we will be all right. It is a big game (tomorrow night), they are all big now. Looking at our fixture schedule, we have Gills and Walsall, before two really tough ones at Scunthorpe and Bolton.
“We need to hit the ground running. It is difficult as a manager because you cannot totally control the result. You can try and control the performance and the mindset of the lads. We worked hard on Saturday and did not get the result. Hopefully, we will perform as well and we will get something, certainly in the next two games, to give us a bit of confidence going into those two big away ones.”
The full update from Neal is available to Dons Player subscribers via the link above and an interview with Dean Parrett is also on our premium channel.