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Kwesi in contention to face West Ham

Manager's update ahead of Carabao Cup second round match

27 August 2018

Kwesi Appiah could return to the squad for the Carabao Cup tie against West Ham after making good progress from an ankle injury.

The striker missed out on facing Sunderland at the weekend, but Neal Ardley is hopeful that Kwesi will be available as another forward option tomorrow night. However, Tom Soares (hamstring) is unlikely to be risked and the manager added that Tennai Watson is not deemed to be ready.

Speaking during an interview for iFollow, Neal said: "Kwesi has a chance, he trained today, so hopefully he will come back into the squad. It might be a bit too soon for Tennai and the same with Tom Soares. We will see if we can get them right for Saturday, but with a bit of luck Kwesi will make the squad."

Despite successive defeats heading into this match, the performances have certainly offered encouragement and Neal is excited by the prospect of a big cup tie under the lights at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

The manager also recalled some memorable battles against West Ham back in the days when he played for Wimbledon in the Premier League, including a memorable 4-3 win 20 years ago at Upton Park!

"I was there for the 4-3 game, but I didn't get on the pitch," said Neal. "I remember that they had John Hartson and Ian Wright up front and they ran us ragged for about 20 minutes, but big Carl Leaburn caused them problems and we managed to get back into it. It was a great feeling to come back and win the game. It was typical Wimbledon spirit, to keep going.

"This season we came back to win in the first round against Portsmouth, a team that has not been beaten yet, and that gives us confidence that we can do it. We've created a hell of a lot of chances in the last few weeks and by and large nearly every performance has been a good one. We will not let the fact that we've had a defeat or two hinder the way we go about the game. We will try to send the boys out with an intent to have a good go. It is a cup game under the lights with the TV cameras there and we will do our very best.

"I remember playing at West Ham and it was not very pleasant running up and down alongside the chicken run (the old terrace at Upton Park) I can assure you! Two of my best friends are West Ham supporters, so I'm fully aware of what their fans will bring. If you put their fans and our fans in our little stadium, tight to the pitch, with the TV cameras there, it will be really exciting."

The full interview with Neal is available to watch by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above.


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