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Neal’s squad update for Carabao Cup tie

iFollow interview with our manager ahead of Tuesday night's match at Portsmouth

13 August 2018

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Neal Ardley said that Andy Barcham is the only fitness doubt for Tuesday night's Carabao Cup first round match at Portsmouth.

The speedy winger, who impressed in Saturday's draw against Coventry, is struggling to shake off a toe injury in time to face his former club.

Speaking during an interview for iFollow, the manager also indicated that there will not be a lot of changes to the starting line-up.

"Certainly, one or two warrant being given an opportunity to play in a competitive game, given the way that they've come in and trained," said Neal. "That will definitely happen, but I don't think I will make wholesale changes. I think I will make four or five at a maximum, but I've not decided that. There are one or two that we are looking at from Saturday. We are playing Saturday, Tuesday, for a couple of weeks now and I will not be afraid to rotate positions if I feel that's necessary. The only one who is a doubt is Barchy as his toe is quite sore, but other than him we are all good."

Neal was quick to stress the importance of this competition to AFC Wimbledon and he has welcomed the rule change that means tomorrow's match will go straight to penalties if the score is level at full-time.

"You are in three knockout competitions and in two of those you can get a big club and bring some money into the club if you do well," said Neal. "This is a competition that we want to do well in. I know we've not got a fantastic record in it, but that is the past. We always end up with a tough draw and this is another one away from home. We will give it our best and hopefully we are better prepared than we were in previous years.

"I am really glad that there is no extra-time, I think they (EFL) have taken on board what people have said about it. I spoke about it last season and I said it was really difficult. In pre-season games you cannot quite get the intensity of the first game of the season, but straight away after the season started you were playing on the Tuesday in the cup. You are not ready for it that quickly, but also the prospect of it going to extra-time almost made you want to put out a weakened team. I've made comments about that in the past. They have listened to everyone. The fact that it does not go into extra-time means you don't have to worry about killing your team for the Saturday and being at a disadvantage. You can take the competition as hard as you possibly can."

Watch the full interview with Neal by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above and look out tomorrow for a more extensive preview of the game at Portsmouth.

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