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Neal sets Pompey challenge

14 February 2014

Dons boss eager to restore pride after Rochdale setback

Neal Ardley says he’s desperate to turn around AFC Wimbledon’s fortunes and make the fans proud of their team with 16 games left in League 2 this season.

The Wimbledon boss spoke with passion during an interview for Dons Player about putting things right after last Saturday’s disappointing defeat at home to Rochdale. And he has challenged his players to rise to the occasion in front of 2,000 travelling Dons fans at a packed Fratton Park tomorrow.

“I’m desperate for us to put together a consistent run of performances that the fans can be proud of so that they can be happy with what we’re doing week in and week out,” Neal said. “There are little things in football that can send a team in a different direction and that’s where we are at the moment.

“I was so raw on Saturday and down about the performance that I wanted to get that out of my system. That goes for the team too and we never got an opportunity on Tuesday to put in a performance to make the fans proud. We now have to focus on doing that on Saturday.

“We knew that we needed to do a lot of work on the training ground and we’ve done a lot of intense work on Wednesday and Thursday to make sure that we’re a better team than for the last half hour on Saturday.”

Of course, the Dons hit top form in the corresponding fixture when they beat Pompey 4-0, but Neal is expecting a completely different challenge tomorrow.

“They have a different manager and different players, plus it’s away from home,” Neal added. “We will have to handle an exciting atmosphere and a lot of our players will not have played in front of so many fans. There are a lot of things that come into the equation, but as a manager I look at what I think we’ve been missing and the identity of our play. I have looked at the aspects that I thought were sadly lacking on Saturday.”

 .  Team NewsIf you missed our update from Neal yesterday, please click on

  The full interview with Neal Ardley can be viewed on our premium site, along with the thoughts of Aaron Morris on tomorrow’s Portsmouth match. 

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