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Brentford B Team

"I want to show the things that I have been able to do in the B Team"

Aaron Pressley on returning to fitness and getting back to his loan with AFC Wimbledon

15 February 2022

When you sit down with Brentford B striker Aaron Pressley, the thing you’re struck by is the honesty and humility in his words as he reflects on the first half of his 2021/22 campaign. The chance to step out on loan in Sky Bet League One with AFC Wimbledon was an opportunity that the 20-year-old couldn’t refuse at the beginning of the season.

So far, he has scored four times in 12 starts during his time with The Dons, before a hamstring injury halted his game time. Recently he’s joined Brentford B to continue his recovery from injury in Portugal- a perfect time to sit down and catch up with the forward to discuss his season so far.
 
“I didn’t win a header all night. We played direct from goal kicks, and I had to disturb him and win the first contact. It was things like little shirt pulls or blocking my runs, he got his timing exactly right all the time against me. I’d like to play against him again and see how I’ve improved.”
 
The game that Aaron is describing was Wimbledon’s trip to Rotherham United back in September, and the player was Richard Wood. Now 36, the defender has gained vast experience in the Football League having turned out for Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City and Rotherham. But this was the game that Aaron believes marked a real turning point for him as he adjusted to life in League One.
 
He continued: “The type of striker that I am, with my size, I need to lead the line and in League One you have a lot of good teams and experienced players. I learned quickly about some of the things that I need to do. The senior players are more intelligent and streetwise in their game, and I think my performances have got better and better. The match with Rotherham was a big turning point. I was up against Wood, an experienced defender, and he taught me a lesson that night. After that I got better as the games progressed. My dad (Steven Pressley) comes to watch me quite a lot and by the last game he said I looked comfortable in the game as I had been learning a lot.”

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Though the goals perhaps haven’t been quite as regular as he would have liked, the tireless young forward has provided a real asset to Wimbledon with his physicality at the top end of the pitch.
 
Reflecting on his loan so far, he explained: “I think there are a lot of improvements that I can make but for a first loan I think I’ve done well. Obviously, being up against an experienced striker like Ollie Palmer, who knows the leagues well and been in those situations a lot before, was a challenge. He did really well but he’s left for Wrexham now, and I’m looking forward to getting back in and really prove what I have got. I want to show the things that I have been able to do in the B Team and if I can bring that to the table then I will have no problem scoring goals and doing well.
 
On the injury, Aaron is recovering well and steadily building his fitness to get himself back onto the pitch in League One. “It happened during an in-house game with Wimbledon, said the youngster. “Due to Covid there were a lot of cancellations, so we played an internal game and 30 minutes in I went to sprint and injured my hamstring. It was a grade three but luckily it was only eight weeks out when it could have been 12 which is a positive. I can carry out the rest of my season at Wimbledon and hopefully prove a point again.

“I’m really excited. When you’re out injured for that long, you don’t really know how you’re going to react when you come back. Coming to Portugal, training every day, eating well and preparing right is the best way for me to come back.”
 
Having been back in the B Team fold for a few weeks, Aaron had had the chance to reacquaint himself with the players and staff and build relationships with some of the new faces in the squad. Having netted 19 goals last time out for the side in the 2020/21 season, he believes that playing B Team football put him in a fantastic position to step into regular senior games with Wimbledon.

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He continued: “The way we train and the games we play in the B Team prepares you well. Neil (MacFarlane) demands from us all and that’s what helps it feel as close to a First Team as possible. There’s not that external pressure but inside you put it onto yourself. Going up with the First Team last year was good for me and helped to build my confidence so I was more comfortable going into Wimbledon. I was prepared in terms of intensity and physically in terms of fitness. Games against non-league side and Football League teams last season really helped.
 
Aaron has been recovering from injury with B Team Physios Stella Zhang and Paolo Perna, but he’s also had a good friend in Gustav Mogensen alongside him. The Dane suffered a long-term injury in pre-season and Aaron is also looking forward to seeing his teammate back in action as soon as possible.
 
“I really get on with Gustav,” smiled Aaron. “I feel for him with his injury because, not only is he such a good player, but he is also a very good person so it’s unfair on him. We help each other out and hopefully he will be back soon and scoring goals.”


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