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Wally decides not to rush defender back

Update from our manager ahead of important home match

21 March 2019

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

Wally Downes said he will not be rushing Will Nightingale back for Saturday’s match against Gillingham.

Will’s knee injury is not as bad as first feared, but our manager is reluctant to risk the defender as he wants him available for the final seven games.

Speaking during an in-depth interview for iFollow, Wally said: “It’s pointless Will rushing if he’s not ready. I’ve got no intention of playing him this week. I’d prefer to have him for the next seven games after this.”

Fellow defender Rod McDonald is vying for a recall after playing for 62 minutes in the midweek Central League match against Plymouth. Wally also said that Deji Oshilaja is a possible after making good progress from a foot injury recently and James Hanson could be back in the squad after illness.

“Deji’s got pain, but you can play with pain and if I can get him out there and he’s ready to go through the barrier then great. James has played a couple of halves, but he got a chest infection last week. That’s cleared up now and he looked sharp in training today.”

As we reported recently, Kwesi Appiah is away on international duty with Ghana due to play Kenya on Saturday. Wally said that the hamstring injury which had kept him out of club duty will be reassessed by medical staff with the Ghanaian international squad. That will determine if Kwesi is fit enough to play in the match or not.

“Kwesi had been away for a full week’s final rehabilitation when he got the call-up from Ghana and any national team takes precedent over clubs,” said Wally. “He is being reassessed over there. If he can get a game in over there that will be great, but when he comes back he should be firing on all cylinders for us.”

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who has been capped at England youth level in the past, has been training with the senior Three Lions squad and Wally will be pleased to welcome him back for Saturday’s match against Gills.

“Aaron certainly deserves some plaudits,” said our manager. “He was an England goalkeeper before we got him so this hurdle was always going to crop up and there’s no point crying about him being away.”

The Dons go into Saturday’s important match against Gillingham with Wally in positive mood about the options he has available and the mentality of his squad.

“We are getting back to a full squad now so my job is becoming a little bit more difficult. It’s my job to upset a few now. It’s a good job to have, but some of them are going to be upset that they are not playing. They have to be very supportive of the rest of the team, which they have been.

“We had lost three on the trot at home and it was difficult to play. We gave up some possession and we had to really dig in and make sure we were not an easy touch anymore, which we are not now. We’ve had some great away performances lately and our fans filled the end at Southend last week. To get the win was terrific and there was a real connection again with the fans.”

Click on the link above to watch the full interview with Wally.

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