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Interviews

Robbo’s squad update as the Dons prepare to face Gillingham

Team news ahead of match at Plough Lane

22 February 2021

Our Head Coach Mark Robinson said that Tuesday night’s match at home to Gillingham will come too soon for Callum Reilly’s return.

The experienced midfielder, who captained the Dons at Wigan, will not be risked with the hamstring strain that caused him to miss the defeat at Peterborough. Shane McLoughlin didn’t quite make the squad on Saturday after recovering from a knee injury, but he’s in contention to be involved at Plough Lane on Tuesday (6.30 pm kick-off).

“Callum is getting there, but he still has slight tightness,” said Robbo. “Unfortunately, tomorrow will not be for Callum. With certain injuries you have to make sure that they don’t come back too early and it ends up being five weeks. We are going to need everyone with the schedule we’ve got.

“Shane could be in contention, but he’s not starting because he hasn’t done much training. I can see him coming into the squad. He will be key to us in terms of his energy with the way he plays and the way we want to play, so Shane could find himself back in the squad tomorrow.”

Shayon Harrison was due to go for an MRI scan today to assess the extent of the damage done to his ankle on Saturday.

Robbo said that he’s still assessing potential candidates to take on the captain’s armband on a more permanent basis.

“I’m just looking at who relishes it,” he said. “Also, who I think is a captain and it doesn’t hinder his performance. It needs to be someone who loves being captain and that’s no disrespect to the others that don’t. Some people just don’t need that burden and some people absolutely love it. I am just looking at who relishes it, so it might change again until I find that person who I think is the right player to do it.”

Following the disappointment of Saturday’s second-half display, Robbo and his staff spent time with the squad today to talk about what needs to improve for the future – and he was pleased with the response.

“Everything has been encouraging with their approach to things. We have just revisited some things that needed addressing from Saturday. They are off the pitch things. I look at that first eight minutes of the second-half on Saturday and I’ve said to the lads that it’s not a tactical thing. They’ve been playing the game long enough, they held their hands up, and it’s a behavioural thing. In elite environments people behave in certain ways, in the way they look after each other and the way they’ve got this togetherness. We did a bit on that this morning, we got them in later so that they could have more recovery before we trained in the afternoon.

“I don’t want to keep doing presentations, but we need to build our identity, so that they know where we are going in the future. They totally got where I was coming from. I got them to speak again and they can see it. I’ve spent enough time in elite environments and learning from the best to know what those cultures are. Now have I got the ability to implement them? I believe I have, along with the staff, to do that. The players are fully on board with it and they seem stimulated and excited by it.”

Click on the link below to watch Rob Cornell’s full interview with Robbo.


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