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Ollie in contention, but Ayoub to miss Oxford

Team news: Dons defender Dan Csoka faces a late fitness test

28 December 2021

Striker Ollie Palmer is in contention for the trip to Oxford United, but we’ll have to make do without Ayoub Assal for tomorrow night’s League One game.

Head Coach Mark Robinson reported that we were set to go into Boxing Day’s match with Charlton without a recognised forward, but his Assistant Rob Tuvey had better news from the training ground today.

“Ollie will be back,” said Rob. “He trained today, which was really good. We’ve got young Zach Robinson as a forward option as well. Unfortunately, Ayoub will be missing. He tested positive yesterday, which is a shame. Dan Csoka has also picked up a bit of a knock in training today, so there will be a late fitness test on him.

“Cheye Alexander will be in the squad. The game will come too soon for Will Nightingale, but he is making great progress.

“What we have worked on is our formation and flexibility. We’ve shown that throughout the season that we can play different shapes at times and that within games we can change shape and really cause teams problems. It’s something we’ve worked hard on going into Oxford. We’ll make sure that whatever formation we go with, we’re well prepared.”

Even though it will have been over a fortnight since our last outing, Rob has no concerns about inactivity as we prepare to face an Oxford side currently in sixth place.

“The lads have been absolutely superb in their application,” said Rob. “Every day they’ve come in they’ve worked hard and taken the levels of training up another notch. Their mentality and togetherness is something that is never in question with this group of players.

“A lot of credit goes to staff at the moment, but I think a lot of credit needs to go to the players. The way that they’ve come back after Christmas and the way that they’ve tried to improve is an absolute credit to every single player."

Since our return to the Football League, we’ve only won once away to Wednesday evening’s hosts, back in 2016, but more recently we've recorded two consecutive home wins over Oxford - at the tail end of last season and back in September, when we beat them 3-1 at The Cherry Red Records Stadium.  

“I thought the last game was an absolutely fantastic spectacle for League One,” said Rob. “Anyone in the stadium that day wouldn’t have thought they were watching a game at that level. The tempo and the pace of the game was a credit to both sides.

“Every time we come up against Oxford, we know that they are a good footballing side. We know the threats that they pose, but the intensity that we’ve got in our play we feel that we can really cause them problems.”

Watch the full interview with Assistant Head Coach Rob Tuvey below, via the link to our official YouTube channel.

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