• By Paul Lagan

AFC Dons boss ready to play Wigan despite four players with Covid and with more testing to come


AFC Dons manager post-match against Lincoln City on January 2, 2021
Glyn Hodges

By Paul Lagan

Wimbledon boss Glyn Hodges is ready and willing to play Wigan on Wednesday despite having to deal with Covid-19 cutting five players out of the squad with the possibility of more following league-wide testing on Monday.

The Dons boss sees his team hovering above the drop zone in League One having suffered an unlucky defeat to high-flying Lincoln City at Plough Lane on Saturday.

The Dons lost 2-1 having recovered from an early setback only to see the three points head north up the motorway with eight minutes left on the clock.

Hodges, 57 and from Streatham has to deal with the loss of players and to deal with the effects it has on them and their families.

He said: “At kick-off on Saturday we had four players confirmed with Covid-19 and one was self-isolating.

“The players are quite concerned for their families, we are all concerned.

“When I had Covid in November I gave it to my 84-year old father and mother so when you do that and they are in quite in a bad way, it’s not a nice feeling.

But it is what it is. We know that it’s a bit worse this time with a strain that is more easily caught than before.

“There are one one or two concerns and the wider implications isn’t just the football I feel.”

Hodges can take some comfort in that his mum and dad are being treated.

He confirmed: “They have had their first vaccine.”

Games around the leagues saw many postponements and there is a general sense of confusion as to how some clubs are getting games called off while others are told to play.

Hodges is adamant that he will follow whatever the league suggest.

He said: “There is no threshold [minimum number of players to have Covid before a game is called off].

“You have got a squad and we added onto our bench players from our U23s on Saturday - in fact they are under 19.

“We added them to our match-day list as they play in the EFL Trophy. So that qualifies them to play league matches.

“Now they are probably not quite ready for this level yet. But it depends on the numbers.”

So do the EFL just look at squad numbers rather than the fact there may be kids not prepared for league football who are thrust in?

“Yes, it can be,” he said. “But we have to accept it. And other clubs do it. it might have been Lincoln who played against Portsmouth and only had 14 players - just three subs, something crazy like that.

“I think I read somewhere from the FA that in the FA Cup, if you have 14 players you have to play it, at least there are guidelines there. If we put the U23s on the bench or U18s we ready to play if asked.”

The transfer window is now open and Hodges is looking to bring a player in.

“There might be someone coming in,” he said.

“With Steve Seddon going back to Birmingham, the option is to get one out to get one in, we are probably looking to try and do something, so fingers-crossed we are able to do it.”

The Dons face Wigan in a must win League One encounter at Plough Lane on Wednesday. Kick-off at 6.30pm. The Dons are 20th in the division with Wigan in 22nd place two points behind the South-west Londoners.