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The long road to glory

4 November 2014

Under-18s make marathon journey for cup tie

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s have set out on their 300-mile round trip for tonight’s FA Youth Cup tie – and manager Mark Robinson is hoping that another long journey will bring the best out of his players.

The young Dons boarded the coach at lunchtime for their first round match at Fakenham Town FC – around 150 miles away in North Norfolk – with kick-off at 7.30 pm tonight.

But the Under-18s have already emerged victorious when they made a longer trip to Torquay United for a Football League Youth Alliance Cup game in August.

Mark Robinson said: “That was a really long trip for us then and we managed to win. The club have been good enough to allow us to have similar preparations to the first-team and we will stop off on the way for a pre-match meal. We have load of DVDs that the lads can watch on the way down. There are other preparations we can do and the lads have tennis balls, which they can use for stretching exercises.

“We want to make the journey as pain-free as we can and I think it’s all good for their mental preparation. It’s all about the attitude of our players tonight. No disrespect to Fakenham, but we should not lose if our attitude is right.”

The Under-18s will have to do without Ryan Sweeney and Danny Gallagher tonight as they both played in last night’s development match win at Milton Keynes. Callum Overton is unlikely to feature as he has only just recovered from illness. However, left-back Ben Harrison adds first-team experience to the squad as he is involved tonight and Egli Kaja has also made the trip after a long spell out injured.

Fakenham Town reached the FA Youth Cup first round after beating Wroxham in extra-time last week and tonight’s winners will be away to Gillingham or Eastleigh in the next round.

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