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Neal delighted with midfield options

Manager pleased with pre-season progress so far

23 July 2018

By Chris Slavin

Neal Ardley said he is pleased with the competition for places in the centre of the park after strengthening his midfield options recently.

Scott Wagstaff and Anthony Wordsworth both made their first Wimbledon appearances in the victory against Brighton on Saturday and there was also an impressive return from young midfielder Anthony Hartigan.

Neal quipped: "That's what happens when you are 18! You seamlessly slot back in. Anthony is a good player, we love him. We feel that we've got some really good central midfielders at the moment, I have been delighted. Liam Trotter and Tom Soares came back really sharp, they have been good in pre-season. Anthony Hartigan and Anthony Wordsworth are a little bit behind due to injuries and joining in a bit later. Alfie Egan has been sharp in pre-season as well, so we are delighted with that area of the pitch. We have good competition in there."

Neal added that a lot of hard work had gone on during pre-season with the aim of creating a good team spirit among the squad.

"At the end of the season you audit yourself," said Neal. "You look at everything that we did not get right. You are only human and sometimes things are not right: the culture at the club and different variations. You tweak how you want to go about it. We had a clear direction in terms of how we wanted to recruit and what we wanted and we have tried to stick to that as much as possible. I think up until now it has been very pleasing. We wanted to create a better team spirit, more of a bond, and that is going in the right direction at the moment. There are loads of things we've worked on, right from two days after the season finished until now. It's so far, so good, but the season will tell us more once the games come thick and fast."

Take a look at our gallery above for pictures of goals from the game against Brighton (Kwesi Appiah is shown scoring the second), plus images of new AFC Wimbledon signings, and Anthony Hartigan, in action.

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