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Q & A with home-grown defender Will Nightingale as he edges closer to a return

Interview with centre-back about his recovery

28 February 2018

We caught up with our reigning Young Player of the Year Will Nightingale last night for a Facebook Live chat before the game against leaders Blackburn Rovers and he gave us an update on his return to fitness from a knee injury.

Though the 22-year-old Dons academy product was ruled out at a key time in the season for Neal Ardley, having picked up a niggling injury during a training session a few weeks ago, the centre-back this week stepped up his training.

As well as offering an update on his recuperation, Will also spoke about his delight at the news of AFC Wimbledon returning to the club's spiritual home of Plough Lane.

Below is Will's interview with Rob Cornell, as it featured on our official Facebook page.

Q – What's the latest with your injury and how close are you to a return?

Will – "I've been training just short of a week now. I'm going to do everything I can to get myself back and help out this club. I've by no means made my mark on this club and I really want to put my stamp down on it. I've not done it, nowhere near as much as I want to do. I'm still going to do everything I can to get back in there. Whether it's this season or next season or whenever, I want to do everything I can to get back in there and make a name for myself at this club. I want to make an impact in the right direction.

"I've just got to take it day by day and whenever they think I'm ready, whether they think it's an under-23s game or straight back into the squad, it's up to the management, but I want to do everything I can. I'm back training now, which is the main thing for me really. I'm buzzing to be back in and around the boys. I've just got to stay there now, finish the season strong, and help out in any which way I can, whether that's in the changing room, on the pitch, or with anything, so we can try and stay in this league."

Q – What's the next step in your return to first team action?

Will – "I've just got to aim to stay on the training pitch really. We all want to finish the season strong and I think we've got to start climbing that league table."

Q – You did get to play in our victory at Blackburn earlier in the season and it was a great result for the Dons that day, what are your memories of that?

Will – "Winning at Blackburn was one of the highlights of my season. It was a fantastic stadium to play in and I really enjoyed the surface of the pitch as well what with the way I like to play out from the back. It was a fantastic and important win at the time."

Q – We've shuffled the back four again with Paul Robinson coming back into the side, what are your thoughts?

Will - "We've shuffled the defence around a few times this season, which is a bit of a shame, because you want to form partnerships together and you want to get those ties between players as strong as you can. I think we all get on well and we all try and do our best for the team when we play, but I think it's nice when you get a bit of consistency with the back four."

Whenever anyone has come in, I think we've all managed to do well. I think Deji and Darius have been quality this season and then against Southend players like Callum Kennedy came in. I also came into the side and Paul Robinson has had a great few games as well. Even Barry Fuller, moving to centre-half against Peterborough, had a really good game, so we all try and chip in when we can. That's what it comes down to, everyone adding their strengths and what they can do for the team."

Q – I don't think we've spoken to you since the news about the club returning to Plough Lane, what's your reaction to that?

Will – "The recent news about Plough Lane is brilliant. The positivity it gives to everyone in and around the place – everyone is buzzing about it. We've waited a long time for this to happen and it's now finally clicking into place, it's just going to give everyone a massive boost. Really, it should give us a lift to improve performances to stay in this league and we can be in this league or even higher when we actually go there. It's been a long time coming and the amount of work that everyone has put in – fans, volunteers or whoever. It's just been amazing and a credit to the whole club."

Q – The pitch staff have done a great job to get this fixture on, but what do you make of the weather conditions for playing football in at present?

Will – "To be honest, it doesn't really matter about the weather conditions if your focus is there. It has to be there. I like to think, personally, the focus is there and it doesn't come into my mind really. Don't let other issues come into it and don't think about it. You want to be tested; you want to have those big challenges ahead of you, because you want to prove that you can do it at this level. The manager is constantly trying to get us up for every game, so credit to him as well. It's just about us giving it back to him as well."

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