AFC Wimbledon manager Glyn Hodges refused to blame the club’s Covid-19 outbreak for their 2-1 defeat to Lincoln City on Saturday.
The Dons were missing five first-team players due to self-isolation. Four academy players were named on the bench, but the starting line-up wasn’t as heavily affected as it could have perhaps been.
When asked if the game going ahead despite the outbreak had set his team up to fail, Hodges stated he was “happy” and “confident” with the team he was able to put out.
“I didn’t think they were going to fail, no. Sometimes these sort of things happen and you win, so I was still confident in the team we picked. I was confident in the players – the only problem we had were concerns on fitness levels. Jaako Oksanen hadn’t played 90 minutes since October-November, Cheye [Alexander] hasn’t played and it’s Ollie Palmer’s first 90 minutes. But I was happy with the team I picked.
“I think there’s positives. We got beat on Boxing Day, but there were positives there. Today, we’ve gone toe to toe with the top team in the division who are a really good side and have got some really good players. It wasn’t as if they produced a great bit of magic to win – we’ve made a mistake that’s cost us the game and I feel sorry for the players. Like I said, if we carry on in this vein, anything can happen. At the moment, everything seems to be going against us. But the effort and the endeavour is there. It can turn on anything.
“Their player in the first half smashed one of his shins and it went through to the goalkeeper. That could have gone anywhere. We’ve missed contact and it’s gone straight to their player. It’s something you can’t legislate for, but you’re going to make mistakes and when you do sometimes you get punished. Paul done well, but that was unfortunate.
“We just continue to work and make sure that we get a result on Wednesday.”
Ollie Palmer netted his first Dons goal to restore parity in the first-half after Tayo Edun had given Lincoln the lead in the eighth minute. He powered a header home at the back post, but it was cancelled out by Tom Hopper’s late strike to extend Wimbledon’s winless run to six.
“I was pleased with that. It was nice for him to get his goal and hopefully he scores a lot more. I think in the first half they couldn’t cope with Pigott and Palmer. I thought we got the ball in some good areas and they caused them a few problems. We didn’t quite manage that in the second half, which is disappointing.”
To add to the current lack of bodies, Steve Seddon was recalled by Birmingham prior to the game. Hodges confirmed that his return to Birmingham was likely to lead to an addition now the window has reopened.
“There might be now. Especially with Seddon down and going back. The option was probably getting one out to get another one in the door, so fingers crossed we can do it.”
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.