Big injury blow for Dons as young defender ruled out for three months

AFC Wimbledon defender Paul Kalambayi is set to be out for up to three months after he suffered a medial collateral ligament injury in his knee against Wigan Athletic last Saturday.

Kalambayi, who had assumed the starting role alongside Ben Heneghan following Will Nightingale’s injury, was stretched off in the 2-0 defeat to Wigan last weekend in the 89th minute.

The 22-year-old had just returned from a quad strain that he sustained during the 5-3 EFL Trophy win over Portsmouth at the beginning of September.

After Kalambayi had a scan on Monday, Wimbledon assistant head coach Rob Tuvey told the South London Press: “Paul will be out for about three months now, which is not great news for him.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to deal with.

“Dan Csoka and Darius Charles both playing 90 minutes [against Palace] is great, so it’s now about looking at ways that we can try to move on.

“We wish Paul a quick recovery, and Will should be back as well around the same time.

“Paul is a really big character in the changing room, and he is someone that we need there. He has got some really good friends in there, and the squad has got a real togetherness, so I’m sure that the boys will keep him motivated and part of the group.

“Will has been helping out with the U18s in a coaching aspect, so we will be looking to do something similar with Paul as well and make sure that his time is filled.”

There was positive news on the injury front for Robinson’s side, with Tuvey confirming that striker Ollie Palmer is back out running, and he could potentially be back in full training by the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

Despite falling to a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace’s U21s on Tuesday night in the EFL Trophy – a result that left the Dons second in the Group J table – Tuvey affirmed that it was a competition in which he and Robinson want to progress.

“It’s an opportunity to go to Wembley – that’s how we have sold it to the players,” he said.

“With the injuries that we have got at the moment, we decided to go with a slightly younger squad [against Palace].

“It’s a great opportunity for these young boys to take the club to Wembley. In every competition that we go into, we want to have a winning mentality within the squad, and we see no reason why the squad that we put out can’t be successful.

“We will go to Sutton, implement our ideas and our style on the game, and see if we can get the result.”



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