By Rob Cornell
Neal Ardley feels Wimbledon can benefit over the course of the season from their final pre-season game at Boreham Wood.
“The aim was always to give players 90 minutes,” said Neal speaking to our premium iFollow Dons channel, following the goalless draw. “The only few we had to make decisions on were James Hanson, Anthony Wordsworth (pictured) and Scott Wagstaff, who were a little bit behind the rest in their pre-season. I didn’t see the distress signals and I thought that mentally it would be good to give them the 90, if we can. They’ve got through that and hopefully next week, with that behind them, they’re going to benefit from it.
Neal has also been given a clearer idea of what he and his coaching staff will look to work on, with the League One opener at Fleetwood Town now under a week away.
“The last couple of games we’ve found a little bit more ‘realism’ about where we are and what we need to work on. We’ll be doing our best next week when the three points are on show,” said Neal.
“I know we did great against Reading, Woking, QPR and Brighton, but we’ve been brought a little bit down to earth with the last two games. You see a bit more of what you have to work on and some of the stuff that might cause us a problem or that we can cause the opposition more problems with.
“The wind made a bit of a difference at Boreham Wood. I thought we used it to our advantage in the first half and probably were the better team. They pinned us in for a spell in the second half and used it well. As we got tired, it got harder, but you need to try and take the boys to those levels of the last twenty minutes, which we haven’t been able to do too much of this pre-season.”
It’s set to be a busy time for Wimbledon in the countdown to the summer transfer window closing, as Neal plots his way to getting the best deals done for Wimbledon.
“We need another centre-back and centre-forward for sure. We’ll be looking at three, maybe four. The hard part is that now everything tends to be on hold with the new transfer deadline being just before the Premier League. It spirals down, like a pyramid, when the Premier League guys know where they are when the window shuts they start letting some loans out.
“That triggers things and then other clubs get their business done. Some might be in before the start of the season, some might be after the first window closes, but we’ll try our best to get the right ones because it’s a long season.”
The full interview with Neal Ardley is available to subscribers on our iFollow Dons video platform.
Pic credit: Matt Redman (Pro Sports Images).