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Neal to assess Will's fitness ahead of MK game

Manager's update for Friday night home match

21 September 2017

Rob Cornell

Will Nightingale and Callum Kennedy are both rated doubtful for Wimbledon, ahead of tomorrow night's game against Milton Keynes.

Nightingale helped form a solid central defensive partnership with Deji Oshilaja for the Dons as they kept a clean sheet at Ewood Park, but he may struggle to shake off a knock picked up in the build-up to that game.

"Will Nightingale is a potential doubt," said Neal Ardley in his pre-match interview to our premium iFollow Dons channel. "He trained today, but he strained his neck slightly before the Blackburn game and played on with it.

"He put ice on it at half-time and afterwards, in a lot of discomfort, struggled to sleep with it, so he's trained but we'll assess whether we pick him or don't pick him. He is probably 50/50 at the moment."

Kennedy was stretchered off with concussion in the home defeat to Portsmouth.

"Callum is probably going to be a doubt still," said Neal. "He didn't come back in to start training until Monday and then he's had to train with the physios.

"He hasn't been able to join in and he's taken a whole new perspective of the word concussion now after he's experienced what can go with it, so we've got to treat him carefully."

Midfielder Jimmy Abdou is available for selection again, having served the three-match suspension he received for getting a straight red card in the defeat at Blackpool.

Neal is also boosted by defender Darius Charles and attacking midfielder Tom Soares edging closer to contention for a place in his line-up. Winger Harry Forrester increased his match-fitness, having come through a behind-closed-doors friendly against Crawley on Monday.

Left-back Jon Meades has been working on a treadmill and has been given a clean-bill of health by the doctors to step up his return to training soon, as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Following last Saturday's League One victory in Lancashire, the Dons go into Friday evening's home fixture buoyed by a strong performance.

"This group are hungry to do well for our fans and they know what it means to everybody," said Neal. "I expect them to go out and deliver everything they've got and let's hope that's good enough.

"The boys want to do well in every game. We didn't find our 'mojo' quickly enough at the start of the season and there's no excuse. It's not down to new signings – there are various reasons and a big part of it needs to be on my shoulders.

"If you look at the Gillingham game and the Blackburn game we finished the week very well. We'd got our identity back in ways we'd been looking for and certainly we had a real good intensity in our play - that needs to be the basis of any performance."

The full six-minute interview with Neal Ardley ahead of the game against Milton Keynes is available to subscribers of iFollow Dons.


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