Fate conspired against Ade Azeez in AFC Wimbledon’s goalless draw with Accrington on Saturday, according to boss Neal Ardley.
Azeez was left frustrated on the bench throughout the 90 minutes as the two play-off rivals shared the spoils , meaning the briefest of cameos away to leaders Northampton has been his only action of the last three games.
Ardley revealed the loss of midfielder George Francomb to injury early in the second half coupled with the need for a late tactical change in which Adebayo Akinfenwa’s greater physical presence was required were the reasons behind his younger striker’s continued absence from front-line duty.
“I would have put Ade on if we hadn’t had to take George off injured,” he said.
“That meant we had two subs left and we wanted to change our shape because we felt our wide players weren’t getting involved in the game.
Barchy (Andy Barcham) was quiet, so we wanted to go three in midfield, put three up top and cause them a different problem.
“Their two centre-halves were really aggressive coming through and winning everything and I just at the time thought ‘B’ (Akinfenwa) can back in and pin a defender and I thought he did really that well when he came on.
“Nothing came back off him and with two pacey guys like Lyle and Riggy up with him we thought it would cause problems.”
Azeez could be unleashed on fellow promotion chasers Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Ground on Tuesday evening, but Francomb may not be so lucky.
The former Norwich midfielder took a heavy hit shortly after half-time against Stanley and though he tried to carry on after treatment he hobbled off soon afterwards.
“George has a dead leg,” added Ardley.
“Their guy has come through won the header and smashed George at the same time. They can be quite painful, so we’ll see where he is on that.”
Francomb was ruled out for two weeks with a similar injury earlier in the campaign.