Focus now on Dagenham & Redbridge
Neal Ardley remains determined to finish the season on a high, starting with Monday afternoon’s League Two trip to Dagenham and Redbridge.
Speaking in an interview to Dons Player, Neal said: “At home that’s sort of top of the league form, but our away form is bottom four. We don’t do anything different for the away games and we’ll try and send them out to go and win the game. We’ve got to win five out of six to give us a chance (of the play-offs), we’ll keep going and we’ll try and do that at Dagenham on Monday and hopefully we’ll have more of the 25 minutes of the second half than we did the first half against Northampton.”
Good Friday marked a return to the dug out for the manager, recovering from a hip operation, but ended in a 2-2 draw. Neal added: “I’m back in work now. I want to finish the season strong and we’ll go for the play-offs and if we can’t muster the wins, because it’s a long shot and it is a long shot, then if we can get above sixty points and get in the top twelve then that’s progress and you look back and it hasn’t been a bad season.”
Reflecting on Good Friday’s point, Neal said: “I thought the first half was awful. They were better at being awful than we were! It was everything the opposite we had done all week, I’d said we wanted to have a go at it, we played three forwards and we worked hard at playing the three between their four and then we watched as the players showed a lack of trust in each other and the pitch and didn’t really do anything and it became a scrappy game and when we did have opportunities we didn’t really do it.”
“We came in at half-time and tried to take that fear away from them,” Neal went on to explain. “We tried to get back to what we’d worked on all week and for twenty minutes we watched as they did! They were brilliant. Players advanced forward and that freed Bayo (Akinfenwa) up. Bayo has done great for both goals, he assisted both goals. We go two-nil up, could have been three, but what cost us was our defending. It’s not good enough and that’s what cost us what should have been a nice win. I want more aggression in the team, we’re too nice. I want us to have that little bit of steel about us and at two-nil up we didn’t show that in our defending.”
The manager also explained why opening goal scorer Sean Rigg came out for a half-time work out with Jason Moriarty: “This is the staff’s intuition and knowledge of the game. We felt that in the last couple of games Riggy has come out second half and hasn’t started well enough and hasn’t got his second wind and been quick enough. He s been blowing for 15 minutes and by that time we are under pressure and can’t get out and we make a substitution. We decided to get him out and get him his second wind very quickly and we asked him to trust us and said this is something we’ve noticed so that he gets in the game quicker when he comes on. He certainly looked a lot livelier in that second half than he has done in the past.”
channel.YouTube provides footage of the goals on our official Stephen MayhewAnalyst
The full, five minute interview with Neal Ardley is available to Dons Player subscribers.