Manager determined to end season on a high
Neal Ardley said he is likely to resist flooding his side with young players on Saturday against Cheltenham Town.
With a crop of home-grown talents having already made a breakthrough this season, Neal says he will not be putting more youngsters in for the sake of it and he is determined to guide Wimbledon to a final-day victory after a “frustrating” run-in.
Speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “If I had not played young players all season then I would probably be saying that I can see why people want us to give them a chance, but we have. I think seven young players, including five academy products, have made their debuts this season. We have been brave with it.
“If we feel there are one or two that may benefit from another run-out on Saturday we will do it. At the same time, I don’t want to give out the message that we are treating this like a practice match. The last few weeks have been frustrating. I have tried to do everything to keep the performance levels high.
“When you look back at the Wycombe, Oxford and Northampton games we should have picked up more points from them. We have only lost two games out of the last eight, but we have only won one of those. We want to finish the season on a high.”
Neal added that George Francomb and James Shea are carrying knocks, but both could be fit for Saturday’s game.
Whatever the personnel, Neal wants his squad to be thanking the fans for their support this season with a victory under their belts.
“The boys have trained exceptionally well in the last four weeks since we felt we were out of the play-off race,” added Neal. “The performances have been generally of a high level, but we have just been found wanting when we have had chances to take the lead or failed to show the know-how to hold on after going in front. We certainly need three points to end the season positively.
. It is the last game and people remember the last few games of the season. We want fans to look forward and we will get better next season. That is a statement I am keen to ensure happens. We want to reach our target of 60 points so that we can look at it and think about kicking on next season. When we applaud the fans afterwards we want it to be on the back of a good performance.”th or dropping down to 16th or 13th“It could be the difference between us finishing 12
The full interview with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player.