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Defensive duo back in contention for Dons

Nightingale and Kennedy bolster Wimbledon back-line

25 September 2017

Neil Cox was able to report a double defensive boost for the Dons ahead of tomorrow night's trip to Southend United.

Centre-back Will Nightingale (neck) and left-back Callum Kennedy (concussion) took part in training for the trip to Roots Hall.

"We're getting a full squad together in training now - which the gaffer brought together in the summer - and we've not really had that," said Neil in an interview to our premium iFollow Dons channel.

"There's only Jon Meades, who we're still really missing, and Kwesi Appiah from the other night, although Meadesy is back on the training ground and running which is a positive for us."

Defender Darius Charles and attacking midfielder Tom Soares are also stepping up their fitness levels for the League One game against the Shrimpers, having successfully returned to action in recent weeks.

"We're getting there to having a full-sized squad with players ready to play. Kwesi will have a scan this afternoon. We'll know more tonight, in terms of how long he's going to be out for."

The Essex club had an impressive 4-2 victory at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, but are only three places above the Dons in 16th place and just two points better off than Neal Ardley's side.

"Tomorrow night is going to be difficult against my old friend Phil Brown (Southend's manager)," said Neil.

"They had a good result at the weekend and I know he was at our game on Friday, watched us and will know how we play, but we've got to make sure we defend well and be aggressive against them.

"We've got to win a lot of second balls and make sure we defend really well. We know we'll get opportunities on the night and, as I've said, if we keep creating opportunities we will score.

"We're probably a little bit disappointed with where we find ourselves. We've created a number of opportunities and not taken them, but the forwards are being positive and getting in positions. We just need to sharpen up in front of goal and every now and then we need a little bit of luck."

The squad were back focused on climbing the table and in good spirits at the training ground on Monday, following Friday's 2-0 defeat at home to Milton Keynes.

"You see friendships building. They are coming in to training together, building reputations and it's a really good atmosphere around the place.

"It doesn't matter about the result we've had, but the boys are positive about going forward. They are all disappointed that we got beat, but there were a lot of positives that came out of that game the other night."

The full interview with assistant manager Neil Cox is available to subscribers of iFollow Dons. An interview with goalkeeper George Long will also feature in the build-up for the trip to Southend.

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