Ardley brings out the cotton wool wrapping for his crocked Dons

Wandsworth Guardian: No up for it at the moment: Alan Bennett is one of four central defenders unavailable to Neal Ardley this weekend                SP79026 No up for it at the moment: Alan Bennett is one of four central defenders unavailable to Neal Ardley this weekend SP79026

Neal Ardley is wrapping his players in cotton wool rather than Christmas paper this year in an effort to ease his injury-ravaged Dons into January.

With just two wins in 12 League Two games, Dons face a tough assignment at promotion-chasing Newport County, featuring ex-Dons favourite Christian Jolley, this weekend.

The task has been made more difficult by the absence of Harry Pell (knee), Rhys Weston (knee), George Porter (suspended) and Kevin Feely (hamstring), as well as Chris Arthur (ankle) and Alan Bennett (ankle).

Will Antwi, although back on the bench, is not fully fit and Tom Beere, who had been grabbing the headlines in the U21s, is out for up to two months with a knee injury.

On the positive side, Charlie Sheringham made his first start since August in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Mansfield Town.

Ardley said: “We’ve got to wrap the players in cotton wool to get through to the new year. Our biggest issue is at the back. Rhys and Alan are out, and Will is coming back. We had cover with Kevin, and now he is injured that cover has gone.”

He added: “It was tough against Mansfield Town, especially for Barry [Fuller] who moved into the centre of defence. He was outstanding, but he is not a natural in that position like Alan.

“But we coped with everything Mansfield threw at us, and we did not crumble.

“Chances are, we would have lost that game last season.”

 

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