AFC Wimbledon started the year with a victory at home to Southend United and Interim Manager Simon Bassey will be aiming to guide the Dons to another important win against The Shrimpers.
That 2-0 win on January 1 set Wimbledon on the way to a productive month in the battle to stay up and the Dons are in greater need of the points this time around.
Visitors Southend United will arrive off the back of an impressive 6-2 victory at League Two Crawley Town in their FA Cup first round replay in midweek. It’s a different story in the league though, as Chris Powell’s side haven’t won a match for a month and are 14th in the table, having lost several players to long-term injuries.
The points were shared between the two sides last season, as Southend claimed a 1-0 victory at Roots Hall in September 2017, before Wimbledon’s win in January at the Cherry Red Records Stadium (the picture above shows Tom Soares scoring in that match).
Below are quotes from both camps, plus stats, team news, and a recap of previous matches:
“Southend are probably still searching for their fittest team because they’ve had injuries and suspensions. The manager is trying to juggle things around to find the right balance again. I’ve been to watch them live twice. I went to watch their game against Crawley the day after our match against Haringey and I watched them on Tuesday night.
“I’m fully aware of their strengths and hopefully we can find some areas where we can open them up and cause some problems. Chris is a really good guy. I have a lot of respect for him as he’s a real football man. I must have known Chris for 20-odd years and anyone who has met him will tell you what a gentleman he is. I look forward to seeing him and his staff, but hopefully we are the victorious ones at the end of it.
“I think it’s important during the run we are in that we don’t just focus on the negatives and we take the positives out of it as well, because I think there were a few at Doncaster. We addressed those as well because you don’t keep hitting people with sticks. We addressed the negatives, encouraged the positives and we’ve done sessions that will hopefully make those positives a more common theme in our play. We move forward in good spirits.
“We have to face the situation we are in head-on. We go into it in good spirits because ultimately people will work better and give more for you when that’s the case. We are approaching the next game in a positive frame of mind and we hope to get three points from it.”
“It’s good to be back. It’s never nice to be injured, but it’s not nice looking at the team and wanting to help at a difficult time, but you can’t. It’s obviously been frustrating, but I’m happy to be back and I’m looking to contribute. I am working hard in training to get my match fitness levels where they need to be. I came on against Doncaster and I’m looking to get some more game-time to contribute to the team.”
“I need to get back playing, get my fitness back up, and start contributing. Obviously, that will come in the shape of goals and assists. I will be looking to contribute in any way I can, but that’s the case for everyone. We are all looking to improve our levels, increase what we are doing, in order to get the results we need. If I can chip in with a few goals that will be great, but the main thing is helping the team to go forward.
“Wimbledon is always a tricky place to go to, even more now because Simon Bassey is in interim charge and he is someone that I know well, I’m sure that he would have been there on Tuesday, and I know that he saw us play Crawley at Roots Hall.
“They haven’t been on a great run lately and they know that. They’ve lost a good man in Neal Ardley. I liked the way he works, but unfortunately he’s moved on. As always, we need to look at it as an opportunity to bounce back in the league and do our best to take three points away from home.”
There are no fresh injury concerns for Wimbledon, but forward James Hanson (calf) and defender Tyler Garratt (knee) are both still sidelined.
Southend defender Harry Lennon suffered a broken leg just under a month ago. Forward Tom Hopper was also ruled out, at the end of October, for nine months, after surgery on a ruptured ACL. Defender Ben Coker will miss the rest of the season, having ruptured two knee ligaments.
1 January, 2018
Sky Bet League One
AFC Wimbledon 2, Southend United 0
Highlights of Wimbledon’s victory over the Shrimpers from earlier this year are available below, via our official YouTube channel.
Form guide (last six in all competitions)
AFC Wimbledon - LWWLLL
Southend United - WLWDLL
AFC Wimbledon – Joe Pigott (6)
Southend United – Simon Cox and Tom Hopper (7 each)
Last time out
League One - Doncaster Rovers 2, AFC Wimbledon 1.
FA Cup, Replay – Crawley Town 2, Southend United 6.
All seat tickets are sold out, but we do still have places available for the Chemflow terrace and the RyGas Stand (just £17 for adults). You can buy in advance from our online ticket shop up until 11.00 am on Saturday (collection is pre-match from the white booth in Jack Goodchild Way). Alternatively, tickets will be available to buy on the day for the terraces.
Tune into our iFollow channel for live coverage of the game with our WDON commentators keeping you up to date with events.