Mark Robinson said that Ollie Palmer will step-up his match fitness with a run-out for our development squad at Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday.
Rather than be a part of the first-team squad travelling to Shrewsbury, our Head Coach wants Ollie, who has been out with a hip injury, to get minutes under his belt versus Eastbourne.
“Ollie is doing well," said Robbo. "He is going to play in a fixture for the Under-23s tomorrow. We will have quite a quite a young squad, but we are playing against Eastbourne’s first-team. I had a good chat with Ollie and I said that I wanted him to play in this game. His attitude has been great. We’ve talked about changing mindsets and his attitude has been excellent. He came in and trained on Saturday morning, so we’ve set him targets in terms of how we are going to play. I will be getting that game filmed.”
Ollie is pictured above scoring in his last Wimbledon appearance - on 2 January versus Lincoln City.
Robbo confirmed that Callum Reilly will return to the squad for the trip to Shropshire with the midfielder having boosted his fitness by taking part in an extra training session, rather than being thrust into Saturday’s game versus Hull.
“Callum had a really good session today” added Robbo. “I was really pleased with him. He trained on Saturday and these are the little gains that you don’t see. Callum could have been in the squad on Saturday, but I said to him, ‘I would rather you train on Saturday morning and get that sharpness’. He came down and did some position specific stuff, as well as training with the younger pros. His attitude was fantastic and he came in today and had another good session. These are the little shifts in mindsets that you don’t see compared to before when players would have been thinking, ‘oh, I’m not in the squad’. That’s a massive gain for me, so I’m really pleased and Callum will be involved tomorrow.”
First-teamers Paul Osew, Dan Coska, and Zach Robinson will also be involved against Eastbourne with Robbo eager to get match practice into young players aiming to progress in their careers.
“Paul has been coming on for five or 10 minutes here and there and Dan hasn’t played for five weeks. I want Dan to go and play in that game because we are going to need him. We’ve had situations here in the past when young players haven’t played football for two months but then they come on in a game, don’t do well, and they are never seen again. I want to change that and I need to be a bit more fearless with my substitutions.
“Dan and Paul are going to play minutes tomorrow and they have targets on how they need to effect the game, in line with the structure of how we are going to play. The good thing now is that every team will be playing the same style of football. The lads tomorrow will be playing exactly the same style as the first-team play, so they need to go and effect the game in a certain way. I think getting those minutes for when they are called upon for the first-team is going to help them.”
Robbo also provided an update on striker Shayon Harrison, who suffered damage to his ankle on his debut at Peterborough.
“Nothing was broken, but it’s not great news in terms of the damage that he has done. It’s going to be a minimum of eight weeks for Shayon, unfortunately. That is a real shame, but his attitude already has been fantastic and we will provide all the support he needs to get him back as quickly as possible.”
Corie Andrews, who joined us from Kingstonian recently, is carrying a slight injury, but Robbo expects him to be back in training very soon.
Click on the link below to watch Robbo’s full nine-minute interview ahead of the match at Shrewsbury.