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Wally has a full squad to choose from for Rovers match

Manager's update ahead of Good Friday clash

18 April 2019

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Wally Downes is pleased to have a full complement of players to select from at a crucial time of the season.

With no fresh injury worries ahead of the match against Bristol Rovers, the manager believes he has a ‘vibrant’ squad to choose from with just four games to play in the League One survival stakes.

Speaking during an interview for iFollow, Wally said: “Everything is building nicely and it’s a selection problem for me. The only part of my job that I don’t really enjoy is disappointing players who work so hard all week and they can’t get into the squad, but they know it’s a joint effort. They are all putting the effort in and they will probably be needed before the end of the season so it’s pointless getting overly disappointed. Of course, they want to play, but as long as it doesn’t turn into sulking or anything negative, I’m happy. If they are not happy being in the team, that’s great, but they need to get on with it and make sure they are ready when required.

“The players have to be relaxed, focused, and they have got to be happy. They’ve got to be enjoying what they are doing. That applies to my staff and also everyone that comes to the games. We are playing well and we can be a part of something that’s really good. We’ve got to enjoy what we are doing and look forward to every game as it comes.

“The staff have been terrific and their contribution is immeasurable. I thank them every day and it’s terrific the way that they’ve got the players back out there after injuries.”

Several first-teamers, including captain Deji Oshilaja, pushed towards full fitness by playing in a midweek development match against Cheltenham Town and Wally praised the attitude of those involved.

“I’ve said all along that the players have really responded well. They were given the option to play in the game because the pitch at Merstham isn’t great at the moment with how hard the pitches are at this time of year. It would have been easy for them to dip, but none of them turned it down. Everybody applied themselves well and we won 3-1. They are bright and bubbly and all the loan boys are out scoring goals and helping the teams they are playing for, so it’s a really vibrant place to be. That’s what we want the last four games to be like with everyone enjoying what we are doing.”

Friday’s opponents Bristol Rovers side earned a last-gasp 3-2 win against Bradford City last time out and they are five points ahead of Wimbledon heading into this match.

 “One of their strikers (Jonson Clarke-Harris) has been on a really good run, he’s got 12 goals in 13 games I think it is, and they’ve had a good run. Then they dipped off and won again on Saturday, so they will be buoyant, but we are really looking forward to the game. Everyone is in a bright mood and glad to be a part of what we are doing.”

The full interview with Wally Downes is available to watch by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above.

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