Callum Reilly is far from daunted by a challenging run of fixtures during August and he will be aiming to bring his experience to Wimbledon’s young squad.
After making his league debut for The Dons against one of the promotion favourites Rotherham, the 25-year-old is relishing the rest of Wimbledon’s fixtures in August, starting with Fleetwood away on Saturday. This month also includes trips to Ipswich Town and Sunderland.
“When I was coming through at Birmingham we had players in their mid-20s that I looked up to as senior figures and they passed on advice to me about the game,” Callum recalled. “You have to take that responsibility on when you’re in my position, especially to help the younger boys out. There are a few in our dressing room that you can tell are leaders and I will be aiming to do my bit. The boys have a great attitude and they are willing to learn from whoever talks to them. Whether that advice comes from us, the manager, or his coaching staff, I’m sure they have great futures ahead of them.
“The games we have coming up later this month are the ones you want to play in. When you start out in football you want to play in big stadiums against teams that have been at a higher level. You need to test yourself. Sometimes you may get a bit more space or time to express yourself, but you have to be confident and ready to meet the challenge. There is some real talent in our squad, so fingers-crossed when we do go to these places we are able to show what we’ve got. We want to deal with their threats, but also show the talent we’ve got in our squad too, so that we can also cause problems to other teams.”
Callum, who signed for us after leaving Gillingham earlier this summer, believes that Wimbledon should have taken at least a point from the opening day fixture against Rotherham.
“It was apparent when I first met the manager that the plan is to try, as much as we can, to take the momentum built up from last season into this campaign,” added Callum. “It’s as simple as that. We were a bit naïve in the first-half on Saturday. We came together as a group in the second-half to put Rotherham under pressure and we should have earned a point in the end. Despite Saturday’s result, the plan is to take the form from the end of last season into this season.
“I was delighted to make my debut, to feel fit, and play in front of our own fans, but in the first game you are always a bit anxious because you just want to get it out the way and start the season. You want to get out there again. We started a bit slow, but you have to recognise that they had a lot of experienced senior pros out there and it was a test. We have a young team and the lads have to grow up quickly, but they showed what they can do on Saturday.
“We came out and played as a unit in the second-half and I think they struggled to cope with us. We were a little bit naïve. If we had been a bit wiser and a bit smarter about a few things we could have gone onto win the game. The minimum we should have taken from it was a point. It was disappointing because we know, as a group, that we could have done better with the goals that we conceded. We can take positives though from the second-half display.”
Our management team have been working the squad hard in the build-up to Saturday's match at Fleetwood. If you missed yesterday's training ground update from Glyn Hodges, take a look at the video below.