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Alan relishes new start

21 July 2014

Captain encouraged by Chelsea display

Captain Alan Bennett believes there are positive signs that AFC Wimbledon’s new-look squad will deliver an improved campaign next season.

Speaking to Rob Cornell on Dons Player after the 3-2 defeat against Chelsea, Alan spoke enthusiastically about a fresh start at the club he has served for 18 months.

Alan, who is pictured receiving the congratulations of his team-mates after his opening goal against Chelsea (photograph by Paul Willatts), said: “It’s important collectively everyone recognises that it’s a new squad with new objectives. You cannot compare the campaign ahead to last season or even the season before. Everything is new and it’s been a real changing of the guard over the summer. Collectively everyone needs to buy into that for the first day of the season against Shrewsbury.”

“There are plenty of positives to take (from the Chelsea match). I thought that the best bit of skill from Matt Tubbs was his first touch from that ball over the top from George Francomb for the penalty. It was an incredible touch and it forced their centre-back, who is a highly-rated defender, to take him down. I’m sure there will be more flashes of that from Matt and of Bayo Akinfenwa’s touches. I think we will see loads more of these qualities in forward areas next season.”

The experienced former Republic of Ireland international added that Saturday’s match showed the benefit of Neal Ardley’s summer training methods.

“It was very hot out there and for Andy Frampton and Alan Bennett to complete 90 minutes at this stage of pre-season was incredible. That is credit to the work that the manager is doing in terms of fitness. We are working towards the season and everything is focused on Shrewsbury. We had been working on set-pieces and it was nice to see my header go over the line. Chelsea had that quality that they were able to bring onto the pitch in the second-half and that made the difference.”

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