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Neal on Fleetwood clash

29 August 2013

Boss expects a completely different test from four months ago

says that the Dons head into Saturday’s match at home to Fleetwood in good shape after their promising start to 2013/14.Neal Ardley 

during this campaign.Jim Fenlon and Kevin Sainte-Luce, Neal Ardley provided his assessment on the season so far and talked about what he expects from rising youngsters Dons PlayerSpeaking during an in-depth interview for

(hamstring).Alan Bennett has this week returned to full training with the rest of Wimbledon’s first-team and his fitness will be assessed tomorrow, along with captain Will Antwi

On Wimbledon’s season so far, Neal said: “I have to be pleased because we brought a lot of players in. Though we focused solely at the start of pre-season on adapting our style to pass the ball more, we have started to tinker with that a bit now. We need a bit more work when we haven’t got the ball, which is evident, but we are working on that. We are judged on results and though I want perfect performances, they are not going to happen. We have won both of our home games up until now and drew one and lost one away so that is not a bad record.

 “There are positives, but there is still a hell of a lot to work on. Speaking to their guys after Saturday (Scunthorpe match) they said afterwards that they had not looked like conceding goals all season and had been really solid as a team. Scunthorpe felt when they were 2-0 up that they needed a third because we were a threat. That is nice because I want us to be a team that the opposition are worried about and that has options going forward. Having watched the DVD back we got caught up in the emotion of the game. We were poor in spells and lost our shape, but you have to give credit to our boys for keeping going.”

Of course, Fleetwood’s visit on Saturday will bring back memories of Wimbledon’s dramatic survival on the final day of 2012/13. Neal Ardley admitted he has never watched the full 90 minutes back of that tension-filled match, but he is all too aware of the threat that this season’s Fleetwood side will offer on Saturday.

“I have watched clips of the match, but it is one of those games that you cannot take too much from it other than that I enjoyed what happened,” Neal added. “Hopefully, I will enjoy what happens this season because of what that match earned us. The game was the culmination of all the hard work we had put in from January onwards. Having looked back at the statistics, we thoroughly deserved to win.

“We were fighting for our lives and Fleetwood were in a bit of a bad way. Not because Graham (Alexander) had done anything wrong, but they had nothing to play for. Now, they are buzzing and are looking for promotion. They have certainly put together a good squad; they will be coming here on the back of an away win and will probably be looking to get the three points. But we need to turn our home ground into a fortress and maintain our good home form so far.”

Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full seven-minute interview, along with extended highlights of that previous meeting with Fleetwood. We will tomorrow feature the thoughts of striker Michael Smith, who is looking to build on his first Wimbledon goal.

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