AFC Wimbledon could be missing nine players for FA Cup tie – with boss thankful loanees from West Ham, Brighton, Watford and Rochdale can feature

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Glyn Hodges is set to make a late call on his AFC Wimbledon team for tomorrow’s FA Cup first round tie against Doncaster – with fears that he could be without nine first-teamers.

The Dons will definitely be without leading goalscorer Marcus Forss, with parent club Brentford not allowing the Finnish U21 sharpshooter to play in the competition.

And Hodges admits his selection options could have been decimated even further – with four other loan signings on their books.

“We’re just lucky that we’re able to play Nathan Trott, Ryan Delaney, Max Sanders and Michael Folivi – if they are fit,” said the Wimbledon manager. “I 100 per cent understand [Brentford’s stance]. It is one of those things.”

Marcus Forss

Brighton midfielder Sanders missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Lincoln City due to a tight quad.

“At the moment we are looking at about eight players who are struggling for the weekend,” said Hodges. “We’ve had a few people come back and get re-injured. [Anthony] Wordsworth and Delaney have got knocks.

“So we’ll have to really wait last minute to see if they can be involved.

“The cup games are massive – really important. We take every one seriously after last season – the run we had and beating West Ham. That performance galvanised us and gave us a bit of impetus for the stuff we did after that. It is also great for the fans. We understand the importance of it – having won the FA Cup against all the odds. We’ll give everything to progress as far as possible.”

Hodges, 56, spent seven years as a Wimbledon player but joined Newcastle the season in which Bobby Gould’s side beat Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final.

“We got to the quarter finals in 1987 and got beaten by Spurs,” he said. “I felt like we had a really good chance that year of getting to the final if we performed like we could.

“I went to Newcastle, where it didn’t work out, and then Watford. We played Wimbledon in the quarter-finals in 1988 at Plough Lane and we were winning 1-0. Brian Gayle got sent off but Eric Young and Fash [John Fashunu] scored against us.

“I ended up going with Mark Morris to Wembley to support Wimbledon and it turned out to be a great day.

“It is what makes the cups so special. If you look for upsets then they don’t get any bigger than that. I love the FA Cup, I was brought up on it.”

Hodges was shortlisted for October’s League One Manager of the Month award.

The Dons won three of their four fixtures in the month, only dropping points with a 1-0 loss to Burton.

Hodges has brought in Nick Daws as his assistant manager. The former Scunthorpe boss had been appointed the Dons’ head of recruitment in March.

“He took them to the play-offs a couple of years ago and knows this league inside out,” said the Dons chief. “He was enjoying the recruitment side but I know there is nothing like getting back on the grass, the dugout and the dressing room. You can’t beat that.”

PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD

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