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Ayoub back with the Dons for Saturday

Long-serving Goalkeeping Coach delivers update for Cambridge game

25 March 2022

Ayoub Assal is available for our League One clash at home to Cambridge on Saturday, but the attacking midfielder may return to the England Under-20 squad next week.

Assal didn’t travel with Andy Edwards’ squad for their Elite League game against their Polish counterparts, however he might still be involved when the Young Lions face Germany at Colchester United on Tuesday evening.

“We’ve got Ayoub back in the building,” said our first team Goalkeeping Coach Ashley Bayes. “He’s been away with England, which is fantastic for him and the club.

“The lads that are going away now on international duty - it’s incredible. That comes from the environment and the culture around the football club and the way people see the pathway for young players now and getting them on the international stage. Ayoub is back with us, and he’ll be in the reckoning, and he could go back next week and play for England.”

Winger Tomas was scheduled to be away with the Lithuanian Under-21 squad, but he sustained an injury in training for the Dons in Thursday’s session and will be monitored by our physiotherapist Tim Maynard.

“He picked up an ankle injury,” said Bayzo. “He’ll be checked on and we’ll see what Tim has to say with regards to that.

“The signs are good, from what we’re hearing about Aaron Cosgrave (ankle). Hopefully, fingers crossed for him, he can come back into the reckoning and be involved in the squad before the end of the season. Luke McCormick is a determined boy. He’s very positive, very upbeat, but I can’t give a timescale on his return from an ankle injury yet.”

Bayzo is now in his ninth season with us and is pleased with the development of our current first choice Nik Tzanev and newly signed Nathan Broome, having previously helped produce many talented young goalkeepers for the club.

“It’s Nik’s first full season as our number one,” said Bayzo. “I’m really pleased with his progress. I’ve drummed it into him about driving the group and helping the youngsters along because that’s a big thing at this football club. We do have the youngsters train with us, and I demand that, I want that and it’s great to see. He’s showing a lot of character, personality, and leadership skills.

“I’m really pleased with Nathan too. He’s ahead of where I thought he would be. Day in, day out he pushes Tanz to the max! There’s a real good, competitive edge between them. He’s brought into the programme of how I like my goalkeepers. He’s doing all the stuff off the pitch, with his gym work, nutrition and on the training ground.

“I’ve learnt so much in the time that I’ve been here. I feel that I’ve developed as a coach. I’ve had some good goalkeepers here and I’ve got good goalkeepers now.

“The club means everything to me. I speak from the heart, I say it as it is, I’m very passionate, very driven. I know what this football club means to everyone else, so you know my commitment and I’ll do everything I’ve got to do along with the rest of the staff and the players at the football club.”

You can see our in-depth interview with our long-serving Goalkeeping Coach Ashley Bayes below, via the video link to our official You Tube channel.

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