Team news and views from first-team coach
The Dons have no fresh injury concerns for Saturday’s trip to Chesterfield with only Will Antwi ruled out of Neal Ardley’s squad.
Centre-back Antwi (hip) is expected to be at least another week away from vying for a defensive berth, but Wimbledon have virtually a fully-fit squad with a crunch run of fixtures coming up during February. Harry Pell serves the second match of his suspension on Saturday, but Jonathan Meades is back in the frame after being on international duty for Wales Under-21s in midweek.
Birthday spoilt by Tuesday night’s result. Simon told Dons Player at the training ground this afternoon that every effort is being made to put things right and haul Wimbledon off the bottom of League 2. thWith Wimbledon’s unbeaten run having come to an end at Port Vale, we caught up with first-team coach Simon Bassey, who admitted he had his 37
Here is the full interview, which appeared on Dons Player earlier this afternoon.
Neal Ardley admitted that he got it wrong with the defensive formation on Tuesday. Is it perhaps a case of getting back to basics on Saturday?
We always try and get the basics right in every game that we play. The set-up we deployed on Tuesday was different, but I don’t think that accounted for any of the goals. We did not get the basics of defending right from a set-piece for the first goal and the second goal was a fluke. I don’t think the shape of the side really affected the result. First and foremost, when we go away from home we have to stop the other team from playing and we did not do that on Tuesday.
With wins needed quickly to get Wimbledon up the table, will it be tough to get the balance right on Saturday?
One of the main things in this league is that the first goal is very important. We have to go there and be tight defensively because we know we will get chances at the other end. We have decent players at the top end of the pitch and we know that the likes of Jack Midson and Gary Alexander will score goals. If we do our jobs defensively then we will always score goals.
Chesterfield have only won one out of their last six games so they too are going to be desperate for the points. I guess that the battling qualities needed to stay up this season will have to be displayed on Saturday.
We are expecting a tough game because Paul Cook’s teams always try and play good football. He is enthusiastic and that is mirrored by how his team play. We know that we will have to go there and work hard. However, our away form has not been too bad this season. We will aim to go there and win or at least get a point.
Is it important for the players to get Tuesday’s performance out of their systems as quickly as possible with just 17 games left to play?
We have to really go for it in every game now and we cannot afford to dwell too much on certain games. Port Vale are top of the table and rightly so as we found out on Tuesday. We knew that would be a tough game and so it proved. I know it is a cliché, but we have to approach every game now like it is a cup final. We need to get seven wins to stay up and we will be trying to get them as soon as possible.
With so many games at the moment, is it really hard to do your homework on each team and be well prepared for each game?
Not really in terms of doing your homework on teams, but it is just more difficult to get the time on the training pitch to put things into practice. With so many games, the boys are recovering a lot of the time, but we still get enough time to analyse videos and look at match reports of the opposition. We will be fully prepared for every game that we play.
In terms of team news, is it correct that Will Antwi is not yet ready for Saturday?
Will is not quite there yet and he is probably still a week away. He will miss out and Harry Pell is still suspended. Jonathan Meades is back in contention after playing for Wales Under-21s on Wednesday. Charlie Strutton has been in full training for a couple of weeks now and is likely to play some part in the Barking London Senior Cup game next week.