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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Jackson happy with his ‘solid’ team despite surprise loan re-calls

AFC Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson was pleased with the sturdiness of his side after a goalless draw against Bradford City meant they have lost just one of their last thirteen League Two fixtures.

The Dons had the better of the chances against Mark Hughes’ promotion chasing Bantams at Plough Lane but could not make the most of a second-half red card shown to Bradford’s Jamie Walker.

Although Jackson confessed that he always wants to see his side win, he was at least satisfied with their resolve as they secured back-to-back clean sheets.

“We recognised that we were up against a really good Bradford team,” he said. “They defended really well when they went down to ten men. They are a side that is full of quality and right up there in the league.

“On our day we are capable of mixing it with anyone. My team is competitive in pretty much every game we play. We’re hard to beat, we look solid.”

The former Charlton boss has been forced to change the line-up of his resolute team numerous times over the past few weeks due to injury, illness and loan re-calls.

Creative hub Ayoub Assal was once again missing against Bradford because he was unwell, and Jackson explained how the re-calling of loanees Paris Maghoma and Ryley Towler took him by surprise.

“It came as a bit of a shock to us, I wasn’t prepared,” admitted the 40-year-old. “From the dialogue that we had with their clubs, we thought they were really happy with us and the job we were doing with them so they would stay in place.

“Brentford have decided to pull Paris back for whatever reason and the Ryley one is a bit different as Bristol City have pulled him back to sell him (to Portsmouth).

“It’s disappointing for us but when you have loanees that come in and do well, that’s what happens.”

Jackson was however pleased with the contributions of his three new signings against Bradford.

Bristol City loanee Sam Pearson made his first start on Saturday, whilst Armani Little, a loan addition from Forest Green Rovers, and Ali Al Hamadi, a permanent signing from Wycombe Wanderers, were both introduced as second-half substitutes.

“We’ve brought in three new faces which has given us freshness, energy and added something to the group,” he said.

“Armani and Ali have had one session with us, it was the right thing to do to use them from the bench. I thought they came on and impacted the game well.

“It’s nice to have options that can change the game. We’re looking at our bench now and thinking of ways we can impact what is happening on the pitch.”

Jackson confirmed that the club are looking to do further business in what remains of the transfer window but would not be drawn on the areas of the pitch he is looking to strengthen.

He added that January was a less than ideal time of the season to be changing his squad so significantly.

“It would probably be better if you just did your business in the summer and that was you (done) for the season,” said Jackson. “Then you would really see what your squad is about.

“It’s quite stressful to be honest but it is the same for everyone.”


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