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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

24 February 2024 Venue The Eco-Power Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Returning forward offers extra attacking option for Johnnie

Update from our manager ahead of trip to Doncaster

23 February 2024

Josh Neufville has handed the Dons a timely boost ahead of Wimbledon’s trip to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The pacy forward hasn’t featured since the New Year’s Day match at Forest Green, but Johnnie Jackson confirmed that he’s in contention to feature at the South Yorkshire venue tomorrow after recovering from injury.

“Josh has trained fully this week and he has travelled with the squad, so he’s available,” confirmed Johnnie. “He’s been out a long time, so we need to be a bit careful with him.

“Josh had a very good start to the season, but he suffered an injury to his lower back, which was frustrating for us all. It was a difficult one to manage because he was able to play on with it for a certain period, but it was affecting the way he was playing, so he had to stop and let it heal.

“His back is fine now, so he’s ready to return. When Josh is fit and fresh he can be a big player for us, so we’re delighted to have him back.”

Josh Neufville smiling.png

However, Johnnie had mixed feelings when asked for an update on the hamstring injury that Kofi Balmer suffered in the midweek defeat at home to Crawley.

“It doesn’t look too bad – we are probably looking at a fortnight without him,” added Johnnie. “It’s obviously disappointing that he’s going to miss a few games, but hamstring injuries can be a lot worse. We’re not happy that he’ll miss games, but we're pleased that it’s not a long-term injury.”

Balmer .jpg

With 13 league games remaining in a much-improved season for the Dons, Johnnie has called on everyone to stick together in the race for a League Two play-off place.

Overall, I think the supporters have been happy with the progression that the Club has made and that’s been shown by the away matches when they’ve travelled in their numbers. They’ve been vocal with their support, but they’re also entitled to vent their frustration.

“It’s been different this season because at times we’ve been expected to win. When that doesn’t happen we all get frustrated. Everyone believes in what we’re doing and what we’ve achieved, so we’ve all got to stick together for that last push.

“This is the final match in February and we have to give it everything we can for the last two months. That involves everyone, including players, staff and supporters - and we'll see where it takes us. Hopefully, we can get where we want to be.”

Being firmly in contention for the top-seven is in stark contrast to last season when the Dons were in danger of getting dragged into a relegation battle.

“As a football club, we’ve come on miles since this time last year when we were looking over our shoulders,” recalled Johnnie. “But we’ve got something to strive for this season. Obviously, there are a lot of teams in contention, but that offers motivation to claw our way into the play-off places.

“If we can find that consistency in the final 13 games we’ll have a great chance. We’ve been without a few key players, so hopefully when we get them back we’ll be stronger and the recent spell will have just been a little bump in the road for us. This time last year there was not a lot to look forward to, but now we’ve got everything to play for.”

Johnnie after Barrow pic.jpg

Ahead of the trip to Doncaster, training was switched to the 4G surface at the Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub in Walton. That was not the scenario Johnnie wanted, but he believes the staff are getting the balance right to attack the final 13 fixtures.  

“It was not ideal training on the 4G today because you want to be on the grass a day before the game,” added Johnnie. “The weather put paid to that, but a lot of teams have similar problems. We had other options, including training somewhere on route, but there were a lot of waterlogged pitches elsewhere. It was fine down at Walton and we got a good training session in.

"Overall, the squad is fine, but you have to manage the training and recovery, so that you get the balance right to ensure peak fitness. We’ve been mindful not to overcook the lads in between the games, but there are things that we need to work on so that we are better on the pitch and we also have to do work on the opposition. I think we are finding a good balance, but we just need to keep them as fresh as possible for the games.

"We changed formation on Tuesday and I thought for long periods that it worked. We have a few different ways of playing and within that we tweak things based upon the opposition that we’re facing. There has been enough there to suggest that we don’t need to rip up what we’ve been doing after a couple of games that didn't go our way. We’ll always look at ways that we can hurt the opposition, which also involves mixing it up with personnel. It’s horses for courses really."


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Match Reports

Lacklustre Dons lose at Donny

Defeat at the Eco-Power Stadium

24 February 2024

AFC Wimbledon lost out 1-0 to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon in a game where we struggled to get going.

Aside from a few half chances there was a real lack of energy and zip about our side – traits that have got us into the conversation for a play-off place this season.

A third minute goal from Doncaster proved to be the catalyst for an afternoon to forget as we failed to really test the home keeper.

With our next home game now taking on even more importance, the Dons have to dig deep and find the quality that has seen us produce so many good moments in order to revitalise our hopes of a top seven finish.

Johnnie Jackson made three changes to the team which took on Crawley Town, as Jake Reeves returned to skipper the side, with Alex Pearce and Ronan Curtis also being restored to the starting line-up. This saw the likes of James Ball, Kofi Balmer and Josh Davison drop out.

It was a less than ideal start for the Dons as we found ourselves behind within the first three minutes. Hakeeb Adelakun broke free on the left side of the box before firing into the far corner, giving Alex Bass no chance.

Past the 20th minute of the contest, Wimbledon began to regain some control in the match, getting in behind down the channels, albeit without creating any clear chances of note.

An encouraging team move involving James Tilley and Isaac Ogundere resulted in a corner that Curtis headed off target.

It proved to be the closest we came to getting back level in the first 45 minutes as we trooped in at the break with a lot of work to do.

Wimbledon certainly enjoyed much more possession in the opening half of the second period, however the forward passes largely lacked penetration.

Any real threat that did come about came from the boot of Tilley down the right, with the winger creating a good opportunity that Omar Bugiel couldn’t quite connect with. In response Johnnie made a change as Neufville returned from injury to replace Josh Kelly up front.

Bugiel was next to be replaced as John-Kymani Gordon entered the field at a time when things were beginning to become stretched. Josh Davison was also added into the mix, replacing Lee Brown in the closing stages as we switched to a back three.

It was a final roll of the dice for the Dons who had looked out of sorts for the majority of the afternoon. The changes and shift in system added energy to the proceedings but it was too little, too late as succumbed to defeat.

AFC Wimbledon: Alex Bass, Lee Brown (Josh Davison), Jake Reeves, James Tilley, Josh Kelly (Josh Neufville), Armani Little, Alex Pearce, Omar Bugiel (John-Kymani Gordon), Ronan Curtis, Jack Currie, Isaac Ogundere

Attendance: 6,440 (443 away)

PICS: Simon Davies (Pro Sports Images)

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Ticket News

Dons at Donny! Tickets available on the day

How to get your ticket for away match on Saturday

23 February 2024

The Dons are bound for South Yorkshire on Saturday - and there's still time to join us at the Eco-Power Stadium.

We've sold 350 tickets in advance, so Johnnie Jackson's men will be well supported once again at Doncaster Rovers, where we last won on the opening day of 2021/22.

More of the same will be very much welcome as the Dons seek to reignite hopes of a charge for the play-offs and your backing can lift us to a first away win this year. 

If you've not yet purchased your ticket for the match, you can do so tomorrow from the Club Doncaster Academy Reception - from 1 pm onwards.

Tickets can also be collected from the same place on Saturday.

Prices are as follows:

  • Adults - £21
  • Seniors (65 years-plus) - £17
  • 14-24 years - £17
  • 13 years and under - £5

All Under-13s must be accompanied by a paying Adult over the age of 18.

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