Mark Robinson on Wednesday's tie
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s will be virtually at full strength for Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup first round tie at home to Farnborough (7.45pm start at the Cherry Red Records Stadium).
Key midfielder Tom Beere made an impressive return in a friendly match on Saturday and that means the Dons will only be without the injured Will Nightingale.
And they go into the match in fine form with the Dons having warmed up for it with a 9-0 victory.
Speaking to Dons Player, Academy Manager, Mark Robinson, said: “We did not have a game so I arranged a friendly against AG Academy and they had players released from professional clubs. We played them earlier in the season and only won 3-0, but we were excellent on Saturday and it was good preparation for us. Tom Beere had been out for four weeks so it is great to have him back as he was possibly our player of the season so far before he got injured.
“We had a long training session today, but we will have a lighter one tomorrow to get ready for Wednesday. When we were non league we managed to get through a few rounds before going out to Aldershot, but the boot is on the other foot this time and we will be a bit of a scalp for Farnborough. We have to therefore ensure that we match them initially and then hopefully we can impose our style of play on them. Now that we have been a professional academy for a year, we want to try and progress further in this competition. We played well last season, but went out to Bristol Rovers and they are renowned as a good side.”
Tom Beere, Harlan Basker, Charlie Craig and Chace Jacquart all struck doubles on Saturday with the other goal coming from a trialist.
Mark Robinson has received encouragement from Neal Ardley in his vision to keep improving AFC Wimbledon’s academy set-up. Of course, Wimbledon’s first-team manager was instrumental in progressing Cardiff City’s youth structure before coming here and Mark admitted his experiences are proving very useful.
“We had a really great meeting on Friday,” added Mark. “Neal came in and had a meeting with us for an hour and a half all about the academy set-up. I compiled a document explaining about where we are and the progress that has been made with our academy structure. Neal has given us a few tips from his experiences at Cardiff and it was all really positive.”
The Dons will entertain Cheltenham Town or Maidenhead United if they get through against Farnborough.
Entry for supporters for the match on Wednesday night will be just £5 for adults and £2 for concessions.
The full video interview with Mark Robinson can be viewed on Dons Player.