Will the man from West Ham say yes? Agonising wait for the phone to ring at Kingsmeadow
AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley is sweating on a call back from West Ham United to discover if Paul McCallum’s loan spell can be extended.
The 19-year-old is enjoying a purple patch after hitting his fourth goal in three games during Saturday’s League Two 2-2 draw with Wycombe Wanderers.
But Ardley will lose McCallum’s services after this weekend’s trip to Accrington Stanley, unless the Hammers decide differently.
Ardley is also destined to lose loanees Toby Ajala and Jonathan Meades in mid-February, although Byron Harrison is on the comeback trail after scoring in Tuesday night’s 4-1 Surrey Senior Cup win over Horley Town.
“The Wycombe game was Paul’s best performance so far, he has been learning on the job and he’s a good lad, and scoring obviously gives him confidence,” Ardley said.
“We have contacted West Ham and are just waiting for their reply, but they have their own agenda. Initially the deal was for just over Christmas and it has been extended once already.
“These things are out of our hands, but his situation is one on a long list of things we’re trying to sort out.
“Obviously his situation is an important one, so we’re moving hell and high water to try and keep him.
“I guess it is a case of watch this space.”
McCallum has scored half of the Dons’ eight-goal tally since the beginning of December – but should he leave, the club’s leading scorer is on his way back.
Ardley said: “Byron [Harrison] will have a chance to fight for his place when he gets back to full fitness, and that is what I want.
“When I came here there were players under no pressure for their position. It is difficult to achieve, but we’re nearing the point where players are having to look over their shoulder.
“Some players may well be leaving us, but it depends who comes in – it is a fine balancing act.”
He added: “The fans need to know we’re aiming high in terms of the players we want to bring in. We keep knocking on doors, asking questions, but getting negative responses.
“It’s like going to a nightclub and looking for a girl, you’ll get plenty of knock-backs so you have to persevere.”