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Neal’s team news update for Charlton

Manager interviewed for iFollow ahead of big game on Saturday

26 October 2017

Neal Ardley said that Harry Forrester is an injury doubt for the League One match at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

In his Thursday update for iFollow, Neal reported that Forrester (pictured) was feeling the effects of a groin injury after training today and others had been struggling to shake off knocks recently.

"We are finding ourselves in one of those sticky spots at the moment," said Neal. "Last week after the lads had put so much into the Rotherham game, we had a few with knocks; Egli Kaja with his hamstrings, George Francomb, and Darius Charles. If we had taken out all of the players who were struggling, it would have been five or six. Some were worse than others and that affected our team selection for Plymouth. We had to pick the players most likely not to get injured or the team most likely to carry out the plan.

"Physically, it has not been great. We've tried to freshen the group up and get their legs back. Harry Forrester's groin is very tight and he pulled out of training today. There are a few that we are picking up along the way, which might affect our team selection again. We've not had great news with Kwesi. He was getting closer, but he is feeling his hamstring again, so it could set him back another two weeks.

"It's just one of those spells at the moment. We probably need to keep the players fit who are the most dynamic, but those are the ones we are struggling with. We are strong in central midfield, we are strong at the back, but in those forward areas we have had players struggling of late and we've not been able to put them on the pitch. That is where we are, but we will keep doing our best with it."

Neal expects Saturday's assignment at fourth-placed Charlton to be a particularly tough test, but leading Wimbledon into battle at the big stadiums in League One are the kind of challenges he looks forward to.

"These are great places to go to," added Neal. "They are a team in top form and I think they've recruited well. Last season they had players there who they probably wanted to move on, but they have a different manager and a different set-up now. They have players who can make a difference at this level, including the likes of Ricky Holmes, Tariqe Fosu, Billy Clarke, and Mark Marshall, who has been injured. They are all good players and if you give them space they can hurt you. It's going to be tougher than last year, that's for sure.

"It's not going to be an easy place to go and get a win, but we have to go there really positive and have a go at it. We got six points in the two games before Plymouth. If we had lost the first one and won the two after that, there would be a really positive mind-set from everyone, instead there is big doom and gloom. It was a six-point week, we wanted it to be nine, if not seven, but it's not bad to get six points out of three games. We will keep chipping away."

The full interview with Neal is now on iFollow, along with an interview with Jimmy Abdou. A more extensive match preview of the Charlton game will be on the official website tomorrow.

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