Manager's update for Dons Player ahead of Saturday's game
Neal Ardley said he will assess the fitness of several players tomorrow with a view to selecting his squad to face Walsall on Saturday.
Jon Meades returned to full training today after an ankle injury, but his recuperation will be carefully managed and Neal will decide on Friday if the left-back is fit enough to make a return to the squad.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “I cannot give any clarity because we have loads of niggles, lots of bumps and bruises. We have players coming back who have trained all week, but whether they will be quite ready, I don’t know. Whether we will be able to play the team or shape that we wanted to play will be a different kettle of fish. We will have to assess what we have tomorrow and work with it.
“Sometimes important decisions on how you are going to go about the game can actually be taken for you. You have to throw your heart and soul into what you are going to do on the day, whatever you are left with. It is a tough time with the fixtures we have coming up, but we have to put our shoulders back, have a strut about us, and go hard in every game.
“Jon Meades had returned to training, but he is on a programme which he has been doing with people outside the club. One thing ‘Meadesy’ will not be able to do is play Saturday, Tuesday for a while. He will need to have a break between games to make sure he gets it right. Whether he will be fit enough for Saturday or not, we will make that decision tomorrow.”
The Dons will be aiming for a more positive outcome than on the opening day of 2016/17 when Walsall earned a 3-1 victory. Neal described the season so far as a “rollercoaster”, but he believes the team has started to rediscover an attacking edge after a difficult spell.
, shows it has been a bit of a rollercoaster. I think we are seeing that this league is really tough and every win and point you pick up is precious.th“We were fresh out of the play-offs and it was very much a welcome to League One in the first three or four games,” added Neal. “To get out of the bottom two, up to the top-six, and now we are 14
“Somebody said to me a few weeks back that we need to keep clean sheets and get a couple of 1-0 wins. Actually, if you do not create chances or have that attacking threat, the belief can deteriorate even more. If the results are not showing you have got a goal in you, it can get you down.
“We have tried to get that flow into going forward again and that seems to have come back in the last couple of games. We have created a hell of a lot of chances in the last two games. Now we need to tidy up a little bit on our without the ball stuff. As always, it is about balance and if we get that right we will give anyone a game.”
The full interview with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and an interview with Andy Barcham will follow tomorrow.