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Dapo provides attacking boost ahead of Oxford clash

Robbo's squad update

3 September 2021

Dapo Mebude will give the Dons an extra attacking weapon for the Plough Lane clash against Oxford after he decided not to go away on international duty.

The on-loan Watford forward had been selected for the Scotland Under-21 squad for the match in Turkey next Tuesday, but with that country currently on the red list he would have had to quarantine upon his return to these shores – therefore missing further games for us.

That means only Dan Csoka (Hungary Under-21s) is missing due to international commitments.

“Dapo is staying with us,” confirmed Robbo. “ There was criteria that involved Dapo not having to go, and he wanted to stay here. Henry (Lawrence) wasn’t in the England Under-20 squad, he was only on stand-by, so we’ve only lost Dan (Csoka). The game therefore goes ahead, and we are looking forward to it.”

Our Head Coach said that he will check on the fitness of Ayoub Assal, Luke McCormick, and Cheye Alexander before selecting his squad to face Oxford.

“We’ve got a few little niggles in the squad. Ayoub, Luke, and Cheye have had niggles, but they are nothing major. This is why I’ve tried to explain to people about the rotation with the young players. Before I brought Ayoub into the squad he hadn’t played first-team football at this level. Last season he played 11 games on the spin, and this season he’s been playing successive games on a Saturday and a Tuesday.”

Robbo added that rotating the squad on occasions this season is the best way to manage the group during a long campaign.

“They are young men, and they are not fully developed. We’ve got to be wary of that because if we are going to stay strong for 52-54 games, or 56 games if we have a great season, we don’t want people breaking down on us. We want to be able to go at the same intensity. They are just niggles, but they are things have to be careful about as they can grow into bigger things. I speak to Tim (Maynard, Physio) all of the time and he makes me aware of it. These are things that we need to be aware of.”

“We’ve built a squad with 21 excellent players and I feel that the levels don’t change whoever plays. The performance against Northampton was nothing to do with rotation, it was just about us not dealing well with their style of play. There were things that we needed to implement on them, so that we got into our rhythm, but we didn’t do them well enough.

"It was the same team that went out against Charlton, which put together 14 passes and the ball in the back of the net. We need to make sure we are strong, fit, and ready to go at the tempo we need to play at in every single game. If that means some rotation here and there, then that’s what it will be.”

Ahead of another battle against Oxford tomorrow, a club that we’ve faced on numerous occasions since non league days, Robbo has called on his players to produce a performance that will really excite the crowd.

“The fans were great at the Ipswich game and it’s great for us that they are feeling that excitement. It’s not just the home games, it’s the away games as well. We’ve got to keep working to produce performances that are going to keep that excitement and add the extra layers that we believe we are missing. I am sure the atmosphere will be great, but as always, we’ve got to keep giving the fans something to be excited about.”

“It will be really tough because I think they are an excellent side that play outstanding football. Off the ball, if you are not completely switched on, they are a team who can turn you over and do that convincingly, as they’ve done in the past.

“We’ve got to be really aware, really switched on, and if we do that and play our football it should be a fantastic game. They are a real threat. They didn’t start the season well last season, and they still got into the play-offs, but they’ve had a fantastic start this time. They are a side that carries a real threat.”

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

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