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Wally’s squad update ahead of Charlton

Team news and views from our manager ahead of big home match

22 February 2019

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Wally Downes said that he’s reluctant to change a winning team for Saturday’s match against promotion-chasers Charlton Athletic.

Two successive away league victories for The Dons have reduced the deficit to other teams in the lower reaches of League One and raised hopes that momentum can be established in the battle to stay up.

Speaking during an interview for our iFollow channel, Wally said: “I am loathe to mess around with the team too much when we’ve had a couple of successes away from home. I thought we did okay against Millwall, but we could have done better. The team is taking a little bit of shape, more dictated by the situation of players that are fit and aren’t fit. I’ve had to come up with something, a different shape than what I initially wanted, but the lads have adapted to that and it’s working quite well. We just have to turn that into a home win now.”

Wally confirmed that Deji Oshilaja (foot) and Kwesi Appiah (hamstring) are still out, though James Hanson is progressing well after returning to full training last week. Dylan Connolly is doubtful with an ankle injury and Rod McDonald and Jake Jervis have been struggling through illness.

"James is making headway, a bit more than Kwesi. With Kwesi, it is just about managing it now, the injury has sort of healed, but we need to get him stronger, so that he doesn’t play two or three games and then have a relapse again. If I have to sacrifice him for another two weeks, then I’m prepared to do that, so that there is not going to be any more long-term ramifications. 

“Deji is still a problem with the injury that he had previously and there has been a little bit of illness as well. Jake Jervis and Rod McDonald are still struggling a little bit, but there is nothing untoward at the moment.”

Following good results on the road, our manager is eager to get his side back to winning ways on home turf.

“I thought we played well at The Valley at Christmas time, but I think there is a little bit of belief in what we are doing now,” added Wally. “The two results should have given the players some confidence, it’s just about switching that home form around now. Charlton are a good team on the ball and they look to have lots of possession. I don’t mind teams having lots of possession, as long as we are more effective on the ball and use it quickly to attack their weaknesses. When you win possession and move the ball up the pitch slowly, you tend to leave spaces and they are the spaces we have to attack tomorrow.

“I think we’ve performed solidly three or four times now away, but when we come to home games we are just a little bit more gung-ho and we leave ourselves open. It’s a case of being solid, staying in the game, creating opportunities, and taking them when they come around.”

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

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