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Simon excited by prospect of his 16th AFC Wimbledon season

27 July 2017

Simon Bassey said that he's relishing the challenge of helping AFC Wimbledon to progress further, as the Dons gear up for a second successive season at League One level.

Our first-team coach has been with the club since its reformation, starting as a player, covering all 15 AFC Wimbledon seasons so far.

Speaking to iFollow just nine days before the start of 2017/18 and ahead of the final friendly games at Aldershot and Ebbsfleet United, Simon said: "It will be my 14th season as a coach here and 16 altogether (first two seasons as a player). I am really looking forward to it. You get far more excited about going to Scunthorpe than Sandhurst! Although Sandhurst was a memorable day for everyone connected with the club, you want to be going to big clubs in League One. In the first month or so, we go to Blackpool, Fleetwood and Blackburn. It's fantastic for the club to be going to those places, but we want to be as competitive as ever.

"We managed to get Liam Trotter from Bolton, a player who we would not have been able to look at years ago. It becomes harder for us. A few years ago we would have loaned players from Millwall and Charlton, but we've been the equal of those clubs in recent times. The pool of players gets smaller with the further you go. Our profile as a club has gone up. Of course, we had the Liverpool game and the Wembley trip and it has all increased our global appeal. We are a far more attractive option to some players now."

In the extensive interview for our iFollow channel, Simon talked about preparations for the new season and about the weekend double-header against Aldershot and Ebbsfleet United.

Lyle Taylor, Tom Soares, Jon Meades and Darius Charles will not feature in either game, Simon confirmed.

"Lyle is okay and better than we would have hoped," said our first-team coach. "It will probably be five days before we can take a look at his calf. We took him off as a precaution against Wycombe. Tom was back in training in the summer after an operation, but he picked up a thigh strain, which has slowed him down a little bit. He will probably be at the front of the queue for those three (Tom, Jon and Darius) in terms of a return. Darius had his stitches out (on his knee) on Tuesday so he can start to step-up his work-rate now."

The full interview with Simon Bassey, plus an interview with Will Nightingale, are now on iFollow.


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