AFC WimbledonSport

‘We need to find better ways of playing to his strengths’ – Dons boss on January transfer window signing’s wait for a goal

Johnnie Jackson admitted AFC Wimbledon need to find ways of playing more to Josh Kelly’s strengths.

The striker extended his goalless run to eight games in Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw at home against Grimsby.

The 25-year-old joined the Dons on deadline day in the January window and was the top replacement for Ali Al-Hamadi, sold to Ipswich for a club-record fee of the phoenix era.

Kelly has started every game since arriving at Plough Lane but is yet to get off the mark.

He started as a lone striker against Grimsby, with strike partner Omar Bugiel pulling up in the warm-up before the game but touched the ball just once in the opposition penalty area.

Jackson said: “If I didn’t think he was doing a good job for the team, I wouldn’t pick him.

“He needs to keep doing the work for the team and we need to find better ways to play to his strengths.

“He went more central after Omar pulled up. He probably affected the game more on Saturday with Omar alongside him. That was difficult tonight (Tuesday).

“We will keep working with everyone. He’s doing a really good job for the team and that’s why he keeps getting picked.”

Wimbledon have only found the back of the net once in their last four League Two outings, but they have kept back-to-back clean sheets.

He added: “To be as frugal as we are giving up chances, with back-to-back clean sheets and being right up there in terms of goals conceded in the league, it’s hard to be as difficult to beat and also be really expansive.

“It’s what we’re working towards.

“We’re making adjustments and trying to find different ways. The different formation worked really well at the weekend. We were hoping it would do the same thing.

“But losing the centre forward [Bugiel], we had to find a different way tonight. We didn’t quite have that rhythm that we can have.

“We want to score loads of goals and we want to concede very few.”


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