Focus now on Barnet and league improvement
Neal Ardley admits Wimbledon’s players have been left surprised by the level of performance that will be expected from them in the coming weeks.
Speaking to Dons Player, the Wimbledon manager said that midweek meetings have been held with the players to remind them of what is required to move away from the League 2 relegation zone.
Wimbledon resume their league campaign at Barnet tomorrow with the focus now having firmly shifted from last week’s FA Cup tie and the media attention that came with it.
And Neal Ardley is expecting more from his players heading into a crucial time of the season.
“When we first came in and showed the players what targets they needed to hit they thought it was easily achievable,” he said. “But we have shown them statistics, which prove they are nowhere near the targets we set them. Their faces dropped a bit, but we needed to show them what is required to change the statistics in their favour.
“They have taken it on board. We have changed the training slightly and the boys will be working hard to get fitter and stronger. It is not an overnight fix, but it is something that we are working towards. You cannot expect the players to know what they have to do. They know that they have to win games, but it is our jobs to show them how to win and set targets to do that.”
Wimbledon were beaten 4-0 last season at Underhill at the end of last season, albeit that defeat was academic in the grand scheme of League 2 survival as the Dons had sealed safety two weeks earlier at Crawley Town.
Bottom-of-the-table Barnet pulled off a last-day rescue act after that victory and they go into tomorrow’s match needing a lift after four League 2 games without a win.
However, they did hold Oxford United to a 2-2 draw in their last home match with a double from former Dundee striker Jake Hyde and they were only beaten 1-0 at promotion-chasers Cheltenham Town last time out.
Byron Harrison (back) and Steven Gregory (illness) are both doubts for Wimbledon, but Jonathan Meades is back available after being ineligible for Sunday’s FA Cup tie.