We welcome back Ali Al-Hamadi for tomorrow’s visit from third place Notts County to Plough Lane, after the striker’s return from his World Cup exploits with Iraq.
However, we will be without suspended duo Huseyin Biler and Omar Bugiel, as manager Johnnie Jackson prepares to face one of his previous clubs in front of a bumper crowd at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
“All being well, Ali will be available,” said Johnnie before heading out for Friday’s training session in New Malden.
“I spoke to him after both games. He got his goal in the first game, which we’re delighted about. Iraq had a good win in their second game, so having won both games he played his part in both matches – which is good. He’s back with us for the latter part of the week in terms of preparations and will be able to get a session in.”
You can hear everything Johnnie had to say and a summary of the key points below.
Notts County won 4-2 last weekend, they’re third in the table, but they’ve only just returned to form, haven’t they?
Yes, they had a great win last week. They had a few tricky results before that. They’re a very good team, very well drilled. The way that they play can cause you a lot of problems on the day.
They can score a lot of goals, but they’ve had moments where they’ve conceded a few as well – so there are areas to exploit there, for sure. We’re going to need to be at our best, with and without the ball, if we’re going to get the result we need. It should be a really good game.
We’re without Hus and Omar, but plenty of options to pick from with a near fully fit squad still?
Yes, we’re disappointed that they won’t be involved. That’s the nature of this time of the season. That’s going to start happening regularly across the board now to all clubs, because we’re getting into that period where players have totted up cards and serve suspensions.
You have to lean on your squad in these winter months. This is a perfect example of that and there will be two opportunities for different guys to start the game and for players coming into the squad also. Whoever takes their places will be ready, I’m sure, because we’ve had a really good week of training and a lot of bodies out there to choose from.
So, the only injury concern at the moment is Harry Pell, but he is out there on the grass.
Pelly has been building up his work this week. He’s dipped into the sessions and doing a little bit more. He’s getting closer. Whether the weekend will come too soon for him, I’m not sure. He’ll be back before too long though.
They’re a club with a lot of tradition and of course yourself and our captain Jake Reeves are both former players of Notts County.
I had a year there and I think Reevesy had a year or two. They’re a great club and the oldest football club. They’ve had success recently with the promotion last season. They’ve started this season very well. Luke Williams has done a very good job there.
As I’ve said though, we feel like there’s areas we can exploit. There tends to be quite a lot of goals in their games – whether that’s for or against them, we have to be on the right end of that.
Just to touch upon as well, you must be really delighted with the progress Morgan Williams is making on loan at Woking and in such a short space of time too.
I’m delighted for Morgs. I’ve been down there a couple of times to see him and it’s a really good loan for him.
I was really pleased when we managed to get that for him, because it is fairly local and we can keep track of him and it’s a really good level to be playing at. He’s been playing every week and doing the business as well. We’re keeping a close eye on how he’s progressing. The more games he can play for Woking – the more it will benefit us in the future. It’ll build his experience.
His future is here with us, and he needs to get in our team and stay there and then I’m sure he can go on to great things from that.
Photos: Pro Sports Images.
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