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Neal on Cheltenham clash

21 March 2014

Dons manager looks ahead to tomorrow's match

Neal Ardley believes AFC Wimbledon has a much better squad than when he took charge of his first game as Dons manager against Cheltenham Town over 17 months ago.

The Dons will tomorrow be aiming to turnaround their barren run at home after a couple of encouraging away performances, but they face a Cheltenham side that are once again in with a chance of reaching the play-offs.

However, speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “During my first season I thought that the opposition were better than us in most of the games. The home game against Cheltenham last season was a case of ‘welcome to League 2’ and I saw what it was all about. The opposition always looked more likely to win games than we did last season. Not long before I arrived the team got beat 6-2 at Burton, but now very rarely does a team outplay us. We lost our heads in the last half hour against Rochdale and had a bad day at Bristol Rovers, but I think we are a proper League 2 team now.

“At the moment we’ve had a bit of a confidence issue, but if we start scoring goals again then we will pick up more than enough points. We’ve worked hard with the forwards because we know that we have to create and score more goals.”

Cheltenham visit the Cherry Red Records Stadium tomorrow on the back of five matches unbeaten and with former Dons striker Byron Harrison having recently returned to the side.

Neal knows the Robins will present a big test after their recent improvement.

“They were a play-off team last season, but they have struggled for a bit of consistency during this campaign,” added Neal. “They are playing slightly different to last season, but they are still effective. Cheltenham struggled at the start of this season, but they have done well recently because they are mid-table. There are no easy games in this league. I don’t think Mark Yates will turn up expecting an easy game, but we have to do all the things that League 2 demands.

“We need that bit of quality and goals change games. If we can get a chance early on and take it then it might make us feel a bit better about ourselves, but if we go behind we have to deal with that. It’s going to be tough. I look at our last nine matches and I could not tell you which way any of those games will go.”

 .team newsIf you missed Neal’s update yesterday on the official website, click on 

 .Your AFC WimbledonFor match arrangements, click on 

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