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Neal's pre-season ambitions

5 July 2013

Dons manager on Dartford and adapting the playing style

said he is “very close” to completing his summer overhaul at AFC Wimbledon and having the players to implement a new playing style next season.Neal Ardley 

The Dons get their pre-season programme underway at Dartford tomorrow (3.00 pm start at Princes Park) and Neal Ardley spoke about the progress he expects his new squad to make before the big kick-off on Saturday, 3 August.

We feel we are very close to getting what we need and that is maybe one or two more with a little bit of scope to get another in further down the line. , Neal Ardley said: “We have had a big summer because we knew that we needed a new goalkeeper coach and a new physio as well as bringing in players. At one point earlier in the summer I had to take a deep breath before trying to make inroads into it. I am really pleased with how it has gone so far. We are in just the second week of pre-season and we came back a little earlier than some clubs.Dons PlayerSpeaking to

“There are one or two players that we have had talks about with their agents over a number of weeks. One of those I feel quite good about and I will be disappointed if we do not get him. That one may take another week or so before it happens. The player for the other position is an important one for us and we are looking at various options. We want to make the right decision in terms of whether we go for a proven player in the league or look at one or two players with potential. We want that player to come in and make a big difference for us.”

Neal Ardley also talked about his expectations for the pre-season programme after being encouraged by Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors match at Gillingham, which resulted in 2-1 win for the Gills, and Peter Sweeney netting for Wimbledon.

“The match against Gillingham went well because for three out of the four 20 minute periods played we totally passed them off the pitch,” Neal added. “We had about 70 per cent possession and it was a nice start. However, it is always easier to play like that in pre-season because you are playing without fear and it does not matter if you make mistakes.

“We are looking forward to Saturday because Dartford is the first game that our fans can watch us in and it is a good set-up at Dartford. We have a progression plan for pre-season, and though I want to win games, we are going through a process of adapting our style of play. It will not be the end of the world if there are still things to work on at this stage, but we want to see it click as pre-season progresses. We have to exaggerate the style to make the players comfortable enough to do what we are asking of them. We know there will be slip-ups along the way and times when it will not quite gel. However, if we start with that process and get them confident then hopefully we can build it into a structured way of playing that will be effective in League 2.”

  to view our previous announcement.Dartford friendlyFor match details about tomorrow’s pre-season match at Princes Park click on 

Neal Ardley's full interview can be viewed on Dons Player, along with footage of last night's Meet the Manager event, on our premium site.

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