AFC WimbledonSport

AFC Wimbledon boss challenges trio to prove they can fill defensive void


Mark Robinson has admitted that the absence of defender Will Nightingale will be a “big miss” to his AFC Wimbledon side.

But the Dons head coach has challenged Dan Csoka, Paul Kalambayi or Darius Charles to claim the starting role alongside Ben Heneghan.

Nightingale, who had played every minute in League One this season, is scheduled to be out for up to four months after he suffered sprains to his ankle and knee.

The 26-year-old academy product has also been a clinical figure in front of goal for Robinson this season, with his aerial presence seeing the centre-back net three time, making him joint-top scorer alongside Jack Rudoni.

Robinson told the South London Press: “He’s a big miss. Not only has he been playing well, but he has also been scoring goals at the other end. Any good player is a miss.

“But, at the same time, you have to feel that it’s an opportunity for one of Paul Kalambayi or Dan Csoka to step up.”

Dulwich-born Kalambayi has been out of action since he suffered a quad injury in the 5-3 EFL Trophy win against Portsmouth on September 7.

Asked whether he will be available for tomorrow’s home game against Sheffield Wednesday, Robinson replied: “He should be fine. He has had a slight issue on his left quad, so it’s not completely ideal, but we’re confident that he should be okay.”

Darius Charles rejoined the club in the summer but has yet to feature in a competitive game this season.

The 33-year-old did play 45 minutes in last week’s friendly defeat to Premier League Brentford.

“He enjoyed it when he came on against Brentford – he did well,” said Robinson. “We have always thought we had Darius there as cover, and he knows that he was signed more on a cover basis,” said Robinson. “But if we needed him, I am sure that he will be more than ready.

“It also gives Dan Csoka a potential opportunity as well because the game programme is so busy – we’re back into Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday games for quite a long time. They’re all going to be needed at some point.”

Picture: Keith Gillard

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