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Team news for Oxford

12 January 2017

Update from Neil Cox ahead of Saturday's game

Neil Cox today said that the match against Oxford United on Saturday will come too soon for Jon Meades to make a return to the squad.

Meades missed the Emirates FA Cup tie at Sutton United due to an ankle injury and he is not deemed ready to face his old club. Winger Chris Whelpdale took a step in the right direction after a groin injury by featuring for the development squad on Tuesday, but the cup replay against Sutton is a more likely date for his return.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neil Cox said: “Jon Meades is still having ankle problems so I don’t think he will be available for Saturday, which he will be disappointed about because it’s his old club. We will have to wait and see for the Sutton game.

“We need Chris Whelpdale back because we have a lot of games coming up over the next three or four weeks. Chris played for an hour before we took him off as a precaution. He will probably miss out on the squad, but we will have a look at him tomorrow. Hopefully he will be back in the squad for the Sutton game. Everyone else is fit and raring to go. We have a good squad to pick from for Saturday’s game.”

On renewing rivalries with Oxford United again, Neil added that finally beating them in October was a weight off everyone’s shoulders, but he’s expecting a tough challenge once again on Saturday.

“It has been difficult playing against them,” said Neil. “People kept telling us that we had never beaten them and since we’ve been here they had always beaten us, but that was a good performance away from home (3-1 win in October). We scored three good goals, but we also defended really well. It’s going to have to be the same again. We are going to have to play well to try and win the game, but we also need to defend well.

“They have got a big threat, but I think it depends on the formation that they play. They could play a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2, but they changed it for us last time to stop us playing. They have just had a Trophy game against Scunthorpe and played really well. We are just going to set ourselves up. When we know their team and formation we will do a little bit of work on them then. It is a big game and we need to get three points because we have a lot of hard games coming up.”

Utilising the strengths of a target man has helped Wimbledon be competitive in League One this season, but Neil added that the squad are working hard on mixing up their playing style.

“I think we produced a great performance against Millwall,” added Neil. “We conceded a couple of sloppy goals, but we got the ball down and played. We got the ball wide and got it in the box. You have to give other teams credit because they have sussed us out a little bit. They know we are going to play into Tom or Tyrone.

“We are going to have to change the way we play a bit. We have been working on it for the last two or three weeks because we’ve been getting the ball into Tom and Tyrone too much. We are trying to play down the sides a little bit more with our midfielders getting more possession. It is just seeing what teams do to us. Millwall sat off us a bit and we got it down and passed it, but Sutton were more in our faces and closing us down so we had to play into Tom.

“The players take their own responsibilities. They have to make their minds up as they are the ones on the ball. We are working hard with them at the moment to make sure that they make the right decisions.”

The full update from Neil Cox is on Dons Player and an extensive interview with captain Barry Fuller will follow tomorrow.


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