By Rob Cornell
New striker James Hanson has praised Wimbledon’s backroom staff for getting him ready for the start of the new campaign at Fleetwood on Saturday.
The new signing from Sheffield United recovered from a groin strain in half the time expected, thanks to physio Stuart Douglas and sports scientist Jason Moriarty. He stepped up his fitness levels by playing the full 90 minutes in the friendly at Boreham Wood.
“When I first got the injury I feared that I would miss the start of the season,” said James, in an interview to our iFollow Dons premium channel. “It might have been three to five weeks, but I came back in two and a half.
“I played 45 minutes against Brighton and built it up again on Saturday to play 90, which will hold me in good stead for Fleetwood. Jason is a big part of it in the fitness department and ‘Dougy’ has got me back fit.
“Personally for me it’s brilliant, because obviously I’ve been behind with the injury, so to get half the game last week and the full match at the weekend is a big plus going into the start of the season.
“We all can’t wait now. A lot of the lads played the full game at Havant the night before, so we’re all feeling fit and ready to go for what will be a tough game at Fleetwood.”
Having been with the Dons for only a month, James is quickly adjusting to life with Wimbledon, as he starts to develop an understanding with his fellow forwards.
“That will take a bit of time as I’d only been training for 10 days. I’ll get to know their game the longer we train together. The main thing for me now is just to stay fit and put that injury behind me, keep fit and look to get as many minutes as I can on the pitch.
“We did a lot of hard training when we went to South Wales. We played golf which was a team day out and had a few beers as well. It was all mixed in. The trip was great and it held us in good stead going into the Brighton game.”
Although the tall target man was unable to find the net in the goalless draw at Luke Garrard’s National League side on Saturday, he felt the Dons benefitted from a competitive workout in Wimbledon’s final friendly.
“It was a tough game,” said James. “The quality probably wasn’t great, but it was a great battle. The positives were that we all played 90 minutes.
“It was frustrating as I felt that everything in the box didn’t quite fall to me. They played 3-5-2, but the three centre-halves didn’t really move out of the box so there wasn’t much space to get away from defenders. You get those games.
“We had to show a bit of resilience as well in the second half as they put a bit of pressure on us. We had a few chances as well which, on another day, we could have scored three or four.”