Glyn Hodges reported that his squad are ‘raring to go’ for the start of the home league campaign.
There are no fresh injury worries for our manager heading into the match versus old foes Plymouth with only Ollie Palmer and Jack Rudoni ruled out. Ollie is making good progress from a long-term groin injury and 'Rudi' is not being rushed back after suffering concussion at the start of pre-season.
"Ollie is the stand-out one because he has missed so much, so we are making sure that he comes back and doesn't break down again," said Glyn. "That's the fear you've got with players who have missed a bit of pre-season. With Ollie, we want to make sure that he's not just having 10-15 minutes here and there and that he's able to come in from the first minute if he starts, or as a sub, and to make a real impression.
"The other boys are fit and raring to go. Today we cut training short a bit because they had a hard training session on Tuesday and it was really hot, so we are just making sure that they are ready to go, but we have to keep them fresh and sharp for the weekend. We've had a full quota today, apart from Ollie and Rudi, and it was another good session.
"We had a seven-and-a-half week pre-season and you have your eye on the opening home league game. It's upon us and we are looking forward to it. It was good that we could bring the Charlton game forward, I was looking to hold another training session there (at QPR), but we haven't been able to fit that in. The good thing about the Charlton game was that we actually got the win. We got a positive result the last time we went there, so we are looking for another one on Saturday.
"We had two chances to get the third goal (against Northampton) and I don't think they would have recovered from that. Credit to them as they showed character to come back. We are showing the players snippets as there are still things we can improve upon. We are always trying to improve and evolve. I am hopeful that collectively we will be okay."
The Dons renew rivalries with Plymouth on Saturday. Of course, taking on the Green Army brings back memories of glory at Wembley back in 2016 and completing our Great Escape at Bradford in 2019 meant that Plymouth were relegated to League 2. However, manager Ryan Lowe has revitalised the men from the South West since then with promotion achieved and Glyn is expecting a tough match on Saturday.
"They did brilliantly last year to go up and they beat Blackpool last weekend so they've already got three points on the board, added Glyn. "They didn't get the right result in midweek against against Orient. It's just about making sure we are ready and we know what we can do. We've worked on some stuff about them today and we want to take that into the game, give 100 per cent, and see where that takes us."
In his interview earlier today, Glyn also spoke with enthusiasm about giving young players a chance to shine at first-team level with striker Zach Robinson among those aiming to make an impression after his return from injury against a Chelsea XI.
"Zach missed a lot of pre-season after coming back injured," said Glyn. "The Chelsea game was great for all those boys involved with the calibre of the players they were up against. It was a good result and a good performance. There is always one of the young boys every season who comes in, it was Rudi last year, and now we are waiting for the next one as we give young players chances.
"More of our young players are going out on loan and we are just getting the paperwork done. For the FA Cup, we had to make decisions about players getting cup tied. Now it's down to them to go and play men's football to find out if they can take the next step.
"We've had a big group, even with the young kids, and last season we had spells when seven or eight players were injured. We need to be able to trust a player who comes in and say 'this is how we play'. I can't keep going through it as there is so much to cover. The fundamentals of how we play they need to know. In the first-half against Chelsea we didn't do it, but second-half we did. They need to know what's required and if they do that it helps. I then know I can trust them and everyone is available for selection. That's what you are aiming to do, and the boys are showing that."