Dons Preview

Going into the Wimbledon game, Jack Ross is doing his best to keep everyone’s feet on the ground, despite the exciting start to the season. “Our start isn’t going to determine our overall season,” he said. “I have seen it loads of times where it can go the reverse very quickly, but equally a good start can give us the platform to build very quickly. The encouraging thing for us is given the changes we’ve had to make and the injuries we have, the squad have dealt with it very well. They have responded to everything we’ve asked of them and that’s great. As individuals they’ve grown and so has their belief in their team-mates – that’s a great thing for me as manager and we want to continue that for as long as we can. We go into tomorrow in the best possible frame of mind. We have been away for quite some time now but it always helps when you have a good mindset in the squad because the lads are upbeat and positive. We have been fortunate to be based in London because it would’ve been a quick turnaround to be up and down in a short space of time. Preparations have been good and it’s great to see the players enjoy spending time with each other. There is a good mix in the squad, the chemistry is really good between everyone and this period in London has helped foster the unity and belief in the squad.”

The gaffer also gave an injury update. “Bryan (Oviedo) travelled down last night so he has trained this morning,” he said. “He looked fine but Adam (Matthews) is the most likely to miss out. He has travelled with us but is still struggling. Other than that, we are fine. Bryan will obviously add to the squad and everyone who was involved the other night is fit and healthy which is good. Back up at the academy, Tom (Flanagan) and Charlie (Wyke) in particular are very close to joining in, in full training. They have had a good week training while we’ve been away so it’s all encouraging for us.”

Meanwhile, Reece James was made up to be involved at Gillingham after returning from injury. “It was unfortunate I picked up that injury in pre-season, but it’s great to be out there winning with the boys,” said James. “I know I’ve got to work hard to keep my place as the manager has made it a really competitive squad, but there’s a real team spirit on the top of that as well. There’s no better feeling than winning games, but to do in front of over 2,000 fans – incredible support, especially midweek – was something else. When you play for any club what you’re really doing is playing for the fans, so it’s only right that you give everything you can and I think, as a team, we’re doing that. There are spells in every game, especially away from home, where you have to ride it out and defend, but we did that really well on Wednesday and we stuck together as a team. We will have to produce more of the same this weekend, as these grounds are tough places to go and if you lose that side of your game, you’ll get caught out. But we have a lot of quality and teams will be frightened by that – Charlie, Jerome and Aiden still have to come back – so we’re only going to get better.”