Lack of personnel behind AFC Wimbledon’s switch to a back four

BY DANIEL MARSH

Glyn Hodges has confirmed that a lack of personnel has been the driving force behind Wimbledon’s recent switch to a back four – but hasn’t ruled out continuing to tweak their approach as they bid to end their poor form.

Over the past couple of years, the Dons have adopted five at the back  to great effect, with the switch playing a big part in 2018-19’s ‘Great Escape’.

But the Dons defence has struggled at times this season, with a number of injuries disrupting any real chance for a first-choice trio to nail down a spot.

Hodges deployed a back four for the 1-0 win at Bristol Rovers in the EFL trophy in midweek, and stuck with the same system for the 3-0 home loss to Sunderland on Saturday. He confirmed after the match that the absence of key player’s had played its part in the tweak.

“We’ve lost Terell [Thomas] and Ben [Heneghan], two centre-halves. Luke [O’Neill] that’s his first game today for awhile after an operation, we were forced to put him on. So there are key players out injured and again a couple who are recovering from covid and aren’t quite there yet.

“I’ve only got three fit centre-halves. Luke’s just come back, two others are out. As a group, we’re looking at each game differently and we’re looking at the different style of our opponents. We’re trying everything we can to get out of this run. We’ve got a young group. Can we help the lads with how we’re playing and with how we set up? I changed formation three times today trying to find that spark. We’ll continue to do that. The boys are hungry and they remain fit and eager to do well, so we’ll keep going.”

Dons defender Paul Kalambayi has come under fire on social media for a social media story made shortly before the game on Saturday.

When asked about it, Hodges said: “I haven’t seen them – I’m not aware of that. These boys have social media, it’s another world to me.”

PHOTO: PAUL EDWARDS


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