Interim Manager Mark Robinson will have several players back available again for the important League One match at Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
Darnell Johnson and George Dobson were both ineligible to play in the midweek Papa John’s Trophy match, so they will add extra options for the trip to Wigan. Ben Heneghan (pictured celebrating his goal versus Bristol Rovers), has been out since the Boxing Day defeat at Oxford, but he has recovered from a hamstring injury and could return to the squad. Dan Csoka and Nesta Guinness-Walker were both left out for the game at Oxford as a precaution, and they are both back available again. Will Nightingale also returns to the squad, our captain having missed the Oxford game due to his partner going into labour.
However, Alex Woodyard will have a late fitness test on his knee injury, and Saturday’s match will come too soon for Ollie Palmer.
“With Woody, we have to wait and see,” said Robbo. “He had an injection the other day so he couldn’t train today because of that. We need to see how that settles down. He is going to train tomorrow and he will let me know how he feels. I have asked him to be honest with me because with the intensity we are going to play at we cannot afford anyone to be at 80 or 90 per cent. We will assess Woody after tomorrow’s training session.
“Nesta and Dan were back training today and they seem fine. Chris (McConnell, Sports Scientist) was just really worried about Dan’s fitness because he’s a young player who has played a heavy volume of games. It was precautionary that he didn’t play on Tuesday and he trained today, along with Nesta, so they are both in contention. Ben trained today and he had a really good session. It was his first session back, so I need to check if he felt any after effects, but it certainly didn’t show in the way that he trained, so that’s more good news.”
Paul Kalambayi has had a successful operation on the ankle injury that he suffered in the match at Crewe, paving the way for him to start his recuperation.
With just one point separating Wimbledon and Wigan ahead of Saturday’s game, a victory on Saturday would provide a big boost for the Dons. Speaking after today’s training session at Carshalton, Robbo had a clear message to his squad today.
“It stimulates players being on the ball, but the key for Saturday is what we are like off the ball, we have to get that right, so there has been a bigger focus on that. Once we get the off the ball shape right and everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, then we can always add layers on the ball. My biggest concern is what we do off the ball, as a collective and individually. I asked the boys to name me a successful side in football that were poor off the ball and you can’t. Any team that has consistent success are brilliant off the ball, so we need to get brilliant off the ball.”
Click on the link below to watch Robbo’s full interview.