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Dave Penney: Neal Ardley will be wanting a response from his side tonight

3 March 2015

Ted Smith expected to be in goal again tonight, and Penney is expecting Dons backlash.

Southend United assistant manager Dave Penney believes Ted Smith is likely to be in goal once again for the Blues when the team take on AFC Wimbledon tonight in Sky Bet League Two.

Dan Bentley has been in and out of the line-up after a groin injury at the back end of last month and Smith kept his first clean sheet in only his second professional appearance.

“We’ve still got issues with Dan [Bentley] and Paul [Smith],” Penney said.

“Ted came in and did great, and got a clean sheet, which was pleasing. Ted took a blow on Saturday but he came in yesterday and he’s fine.

“Dan did all the kicking in the week up to the Stevenage game but with his first kick, he felt something. If a goalkeeper can’t take a goal kick, he doesn’t play.”

The game against the Dons is the second of three in a busy week for the Blues, and Penney is expecting another difficult match against Neal Ardley’s side.

“It’s an important game and we need to make sure the players are ready, sharp and fit. If we perform like we did in the JPT game there earlier in the season then we should pick something up.

“Neal Ardley will be looking for a reaction. Neal’s lost players – [Matt] Tubbs has gone and so has – obviously – Adam Barrett. I imagine he’ll look to change things up a little.

“We have plenty of bodies available. We’re pleased to have kept another clean sheet on Saturday and I think it was a real solid, professional performance.

“It’s a tight division. Teams are fighting for everything. It’s a very even division this season.”

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