By Rob Cornell
Will Nightingale doesn’t have far to turn for his biggest critic, as he seeks to build on his encouraging return from injury.
“My dad is my biggest critic, but he’s also my biggest fan as well. If I have a bad game, he’ll be the first to tell me, but it’s the same if I have a good game,” said the centre-back.
“I was happy with how the Woking game went personally, but against QPR I thought I came into my own in the second half. I’m always going to be critical of myself in games and try and be better, but it just goes to show that I care.
“I’m happy to get as many minutes as I can as it’s no secret that I’ve missed a fair amount of football due to injury. The more games I can get, the better I’ll get with the position being centre-half. I still need to learn and I think you can still improve, no matter who you are or your age. You can always get better.”
Neal Ardley added Terell Thomas to Wimbledon’s centre-back options this week, but Will welcomes the competition for places as it brings the best out in him.
“Everyone knew we had to make signings and I think the gaffer has done really well,” said Will. “We’ve got all the way until the start of the season and if you look at when he signed Paul Robinson that wasn’t until towards the end of pre-season. You look back at how well he did for the club.
“The new boys have all looked good in training, Scott Wagstaff and Anthony Wordsworth have looked sharp and Tennai Watson has come in and looked very accomplished.
“Competition can only be a good thing. It makes you strive to be as good as you can. If everyone focuses on the best they can be, obviously it will leave the gaffer with awkward decisions to make and that’s what he wants. Whoever gets selected needs to be at it.”
Following last weekend’s last-gasp defeat to Championship side QPR, Wimbledon face their toughest test yet with the visit of Premier League Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
“We got two wins out of our first two games and it would have been nice to continue that run as we want to build that winning mentality,” said Will. “If there’s ever going to be any hiccups or mistakes though, we can learn from them now so we can be ready for the start of the season.
“Pre-season seems to be going so quick and you don’t want to waste any time. We’re all trying to listen to what we’ve got to do and I think we’re all trying to put that into practice. Hopefully the fans can see that from the games we’ve played so far. I think we’re going to be a really strong outfit.”