Johnnie Jackson will finally get to take up his place in the home dugout for a game on Saturday, exactly two months to the day since he took the managerial reins.
Our new boss has been counting down the days to sample the atmosphere as the man in charge at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, when we face Ipswich Town (kick-off at 2.30pm).
“I can’t wait,” said Johnnie. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to. Obviously, I’ve been to the stadium and looked around and had a taste of it last season in the away dugout with Charlton. To be in the home dugout, in front of our own supporters, getting back to our home and on our pitch, I’m really, really excited!
“It will be a tough test. I expect Ipswich to be right up the top of League One this season. They’ve got a very strong squad, some top players at that level as well. I know their manager Kieran McKenna well and he had them playing some nice stuff towards the end of last season, and I’m sure they’ll start the season well. They’ll see it as a good test for them and it certainly is for us as well.”
While for many Dons fans it will be the first opportunity to look at new recruits Alex Pearce and Chris Gunter in Wimbledon colours, there will be a few absentees from the line-up.
“Alex Woodyard has got a calf issue, which needs managing conservatively for now,” explained Johnnie. “He’s a little bit away from gaining any minutes.
“Lee Brown has missed out on the last couple of games, just because he’s had a stiff back. There is nothing untoward there, we’re just managing him carefully because he is an important player for us, and also someone we don’t want to lose for any period of time. We’re keeping an eye on that.
“David Fisher (hamstring) is two weeks away. That’s a similar sort of timeframe for Aaron Cosgrave (ankle). It’s disappointing that they picked up the knocks when they did, but again it’s not too serious. We’ve got to be careful that they don’t come back too quick, but we’re keen to get those guys back with us."
Unfortunately, though, promising defender Huseyin Biler has suffered another injury which will again keep him out of action for quite a while.
“Huseyin is long term,” said Johnnie. “I couldn’t put a time frame on it. He suffered a bad knee injury in our opening pre-season game at Bedford, so we won’t be seeing him for a while. “
“We’re disappointed for the boy, it’s not nice, especially to happen in the opening game as he was looking really bright in training. We’re all rallying round him; he’ll get good care and hopefully he’ll come back stronger."
Watch the full interview with Johnnie Jackson below, via the link to our official YouTube channel.