Wally Downes has spoken about getting the best from his players ahead of a busy week of league and cup action, starting against Barnsley on Saturday.
The Dons face in-form promotion hopefuls Barnsley tomorrow, before hosting Fleetwood on Tuesday night, and then West Ham in the Emirates FA Cup.
Barnsley have taken 14 points from the last 18 on offer with German manager Daniel Stendel guiding them up to fifth in the League One table.
However, Wimbledon go into an important week on home turf in good form at the Cherry Red Records Stadium. Since Wally Downes was appointed as manager, the Dons have won two and drawn two out of four home games.
Below are quotes from both camps, plus stats, ahead of the game.
“The key challenge is getting us out of the position that we are in. We’ve played well and picked up points, but our position hasn’t changed. It’s important that I get into the minds of the players as it’s about focusing solely on what’s in front of us and that’s winning the next game. It’s no good looking further ahead or looking at league tables, positions, or points we are going to need. We need to break it down and get it down to winning the next game. That’s the focus we are on.
“Barnsley are very energetic, they press high, and they are confident. Their league position reflects that, but they are going to know that they are in a game. We have to match them early on and try to grind out the win. The week starts with Barnsley and if we can get a good start in that one it puts us into Fleetwood and then anything can happen in the FA Cup game. It all starts with the first-half against Barnsley and we have to make sure we give a good account of ourselves then.”
Andreas Winkler (Assistant Manager at Barnsley)
“We expect a really hard fight on Saturday; they defend as a group and play very direct to their centre forwards. There’s a lot of experience in their squad. It’s not Bradford at home – Bradford are a strong side and had a good run – and now we have to show the same performance away and play at that level, which is not always easy. We have to be humble and make the players aware that every point in this league is hard to win. We won't underestimate them.
“We can put the pressure on Wimbledon from the first minute – that’s our style. We can do it differently from the last match on Oakwell against Bradford. We need to be switched on from the first second, put pressure on them and show that it’s really hard to play against us whether at home or away.”
Form Guide (last six in all competitions, starting with most recent)
AFC Wimbledon DWLDWW
Last time out
Coventry 1-1 Wimbledon
Barnsley 3-0 Bradford
Barnsley 0-0 AFC Wimbledon (18 August 2018)
The Dons showed plenty of grit up in Yorkshire to earn a point at Oakwell. Wimbledon could even have won it with Kwesi Appiah having a goal ruled out for offside. Tom Soares also came close to a goal for Wimbledon, but Barnsley had their chances too on the day.
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