AFC WimbledonSport

AFC Wimbledon boss explains Ayoub Assal’s absence from Sutton defeat

AFC Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson says Ayoub Assal missed the 2-1 defeat to Sutton United on New Year’s Day through illness.

The 20-year-old former England U20 trainee has played 31 times in all competitions for the Dons this season, scoring 10 and picking up five assists.

Our paper reported on Friday that the Dons are braced for interest in this upcoming January transfer window for the academy graduate.

Assal has 18 months to run on his current deal.

Will Randall gave Sutton the lead in the 13th minute. Josh Davison equalised for the Dons before half time, but Omar Bugiel secured all three points for the home side in the 69th minute.

“He’s ill,” said Jackson.

“He had to go in from training yesterday because he was feeling under the weather. It worsened over the night.

“He just wasn’t well enough to be involved. 

“He’s a key player for us – we missed his spark today. We haven’t got the squad to be able to lose a big player like that is obviously going to cause us issues.”

Brentford loanee Nathan Young-Coombes made his first start since returning from a knee injury he picked up in the 2-0 defeat to Northampton in September.

The 19-year-old was replaced at half time by Lee Brown.

“He’s lacking match sharpness,” said Jackson of Young-Coombes.

“He has been out a long time. It wasn’t my intention to use him from the start, I would have probably liked to have built his minutes up.

“But Assal was out. Senior was not eligible – it was needs must.”


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