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"Concrete Rod" seeks to cement defensive solidity

Dons centre-back interviewed ahead of match against Bradford

2 October 2018

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Rod McDonald earned the nickname of “concrete” at his previous clubs for his solid defending and he’s becoming set in his ways at AFC Wimbledon.

The summer signing from Coventry City is cementing a centre-back partnership with Captain Deji Oshilaja, as Wimbledon aim to hold firm against Bradford City’s strike force tonight. 

“I like to get the ball down and play,” said Rod in an interview with our premium iFollow Dons subscription channel.  “I help build from the back with my team mates, but when you’ve got to defend you’ve got to defend. When we attack, I like to get the ball down and play.

“Giving Deji the captaincy has helped him. He’s become more of a leader as more things are getting put on him and he’s enjoying that role. Me and Deji are just starting to get a run of games together and we’re starting to learn each other’s game.

“Being at home you want to get the wins. It was important to get that win (against Oxford on Saturday) and it doesn’t matter how it comes about, as long as you get the three points at the end of the game.

“We’ve got to mix it up with attractive football and getting results. If we carry on doing what we’ve been doing, then the performances will take care of themselves and we’ll get the three points.”

Rod has only come up against tonight’s visitors once before in his career. On that occasion, playing for newly-promoted champions Northampton, it was a current team mate that got the better of him nearly two years ago.

“James Hanson scored on that occasion to be fair!” said Rod. “They got the win, 1-0 at their place, but hopefully that’s not the case tonight.

“When you’ve got three games in a week it’s a key period. You try and get as many points as you can, because after that it switches back to just playing on Saturdays for a while. It’s nice to get a Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday run of games in.”

Subscribers to our premium IFollow channel can see the full interview with Rod by clicking on the link above.

Rod knows the importance of having a close-knit squad from earning promotions with Northampton and Coventry. Having settled quickly with the Dons, he’s still striving to add to his own game at the age of 26.

“On and off the pitch I’m loving it down here with the lads,” said the Liverpool-born defender. “Everybody has made me feel welcome. It’s nice to live in London and get out and about as well. It’s a different vibe down here, but I enjoy it.

“I pick the brains of Neil Cox and Alan Reeves a lot to be fair. They are going to benefit me in the long-run. On the training pitch and off the pitch they help me a lot.

“Terell (Thomas) is on his way back and we’ve got Will (Nightingale) as well. We’ve got good, healthy competition there so it’s all good. I’m always willing to help younger lads and the thing about Will is that he’s got a lot of ability. He’s a good player and he will progress. He keeps me and Deji on our toes and we’ve all just got to help each other out.”

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