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Callum targets strong push

17 January 2014

Full-back on his Scunthorpe return and more from Neal

Callum Kennedy returns to his old club Scunthorpe United for the first time tomorrow with no regrets about swapping The Iron for AFC Wimbledon last summer.

Though Scunthorpe are currently top of League 2 and the Dons have slipped down the table in recent weeks, Kennedy is very happy at Wimbledon after making the move back down south. And he believes that Neal Ardley’s men can rise up the table during the second half of this campaign.

 .You TubeAn extract of Rob Cornell’s Dons Player interview with the Wimbledon full-back is now available by clicking on 

Kennedy said: “We have not been getting the results lately that we wanted, but at the same time the morale in the squad is good. The manager and the coaching staff are first-class so we just need to stick to what they’re telling us and believe that it will come good eventually. We will have a long, hard push towards the end of the season and hopefully we can look back and say that after Christmas we really kicked on.

“Ever since I moved back down here my family have been able to come to the games and that’s a good feeling. I am just concentrating on improving every game and helping us put a run together that will get us up the table.”

Kennedy says that the Dons must go to Glanford Park in a positive frame of mind and believing that they can earn all three points after beating Scunthorpe 3-2 in August.

“That was a memorable comeback from us,” added Kennedy. “Since then, Scunthorpe have pushed on and are top of the league after a great run. Hopefully we can get the same result as earlier this season. Having spoken to one of their lads, he said that they have brought in some good players. It looks like they’re throwing money around a bit, but they’re top of the league anyway after seven wins out of nine.

“We know it’s going to be a tough test, but it’s one we’re ready for. It’s changed a lot since I was there. However, any knowledge or information about opposition players that proves useful I will obviously pass on. As a team we know that we need to get results and move up the table.”

No one is more aware of that need than Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley, but he maintains belief that his current squad have what it takes to turn the corner.

“It’s a case of trying to get the spirits up again and trying to get that focus from the boys,” said Neal. “We want them to go out there with no fear, but whatever happens on Saturday there will still be 20 games left to pick up what we need and beyond. I am confident with this group of players that they just need things to turn a bit to get the momentum going again. What myself and the players are in control of is the performance output. I am trying to produce a high performance team, we did not get that last week, but prior to that we did.

“We need to get to 54 points as quickly as we can. We’ve got 21 games to pick up 23 points and that’s not outstanding form, but okay form. We want to get there as soon as possible and if that’s after 15 games then all the better because then we can kick-on and see where that takes us.”

Of course, tomorrow’s match will be a special occasion for Wimbledon assistant manager Neil Cox, who returns to the club that launched a playing career largely spent in the top-flight with the likes of Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Bolton.

Neil recalled his days at Scunthorpe United during an interview for our programme, particularly because it paved the way for a move to Aston Villa and a rather unusual transfer fee!

“I started with Scunthorpe from the age of eight or nine and you could see half of the club’s pitch (then at The Old Showground) from my parent’s bedroom window,” he said. “When I got older I signed as an apprentice and worked my way up. I had opportunities to go elsewhere, but Scunthorpe was my club and it is still close to my heart as their result is still the first one I look for on a Saturday.

“My first pay packet was £26.50 and I used to give my Mum a tenner so that left me with the rest to go out with on a Saturday night. My first youth team manager at Scunthorpe was Richard Money and the manager who sold me to Aston Villa was Bill Green. He looked after me and I still speak to Bill now. Those managers knew that I was a local lad, who was a bit rough and ready, and had been in trouble once or twice, but they told me what they expected from me and I just got on with it.

“I played 17 times for Scunthorpe and then a move to Aston Villa came out of the blue for me. I had only just turned 19, but Villa came in for me with £350,000, plus seats. Scunthorpe were building the new ground at Glanford Park and Villa gave them blue seats for one of the stands as part of the deal. I think I am remembered more for that in Scunthorpe than for anything else!”

 .Dons SpiritIf you missed Neal Ardley's team update on the official website yesterday, click on 

Dons Player subscribers can now watch interviews with Neal Ardley, Callum Kennedy and George Francomb on our premium site.

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