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Club News

The learning game

6 August 2012

Most footballers can’t wait for pre-season to finish, but not Stephen Gleeson.

The Dons vice-captain is happy in the knowledge that there is still a game and a week of training to iron out any issues on the pitch before the season kicks off at Cheltenham Town in the Capital One Cup on Saturday.

Pre-season has offered boss Karl Robison the chance to try out a new 4-3-3 formation to give the side a ‘Plan B’ for the season ahead, however, against top flight opposition Norwich City there was a realisation in the camp that more work on the new system is required.

Gleeson is one of the players who has had to adapt more by playing in a more advanced role alongside Darren Potter and Shaun Williams and he admits it has been a steep learning curve.

He said: “We tried the three in midfield against Norwich and I don’t think it worked brilliantly in the first half but we still have two weeks until the League season starts so we will keep working on the 
training ground. I think we have three of the best midfielders in the League so hopefully we can work and gel together but we’re human, we’re going to make mistakes and it’s going to take time.

“I’m not used to playing so advanced, it’s new to us all and we’re still learning things and trying a different system. We reverted back to our normal system in the second half which was much better, but things aren’t going to happen overnight. We hadn’t played quality like Norwich with three in midfield so we will go back and work on it and hopefully against Fulham it will be better.

“We can make mistakes in pre-season and although the fans might get upset we won’t be too hard on ourselves because we know it’s not the League. We’re going to work hard, we’re not going to push it to one side and say it doesn’t work because Shauny is an excellent midfielder and he deserves to play in midfield so we’ll keep working on it.”

The Dons will be back on the stadiummk pitch tomorrow (Tuesday) night as they move one step closer to the forthcoming season. They will face a stern test from Martin Jol’s Fulham side who are also gearing up for the start of the Premier League season in two weeks time. 

“We’re not 100 per cent there yet for the season,” Gleeson said, “so I think the next 10 days will be good for us, we need to work on things in the training ground. We have a competitive game against Cheltenham but come Oldham we want to be 100 per cent ready.”

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