Update from the manager ahead of Cambridge
Neal Ardley learned plenty about his squad after the dramatic turnaround at Crawley Town – and now he wants his players to prove what they are made of on home turf.
Wimbledon host one of the promotion favourites Cambridge United tomorrow night with extra confidence in the ranks after getting off the mark on Saturday.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “I had to find out a lot of things for myself about formations and whether this group could adapt to one of those. I found out a lot of stuff individually and collectively. The beauty of it is that I found out and we won. There is a lot of stuff we have learned after Saturday.
“I wanted these boys to look around the dressing room and actually think that we have an unbelievably strong group and they can achieve something. Sometimes you need results to be able to give you the confidence for that. At half-time on Saturday I told them that team spirit is when you are 1-0 down and facing adversity. It is then you have to come together and lift it at the same time. They certainly showed that in the second half.
“We want to be able to fancy ourselves at home. Last season our home record was decent. I know we had a blip at the start of this season, but we would like to go on a run and try and get a good home record going. That is going to be crucial to any success that we may have.”
Neal Ardley’s full interview with WDON’s Rob Cornell can now be viewed on Dons Player.
Last season the Dons lost just five times in League 2 at home, but Richard Money’s Cambridge United will offer a stern test tomorrow night after scoring seven goals in their first two games, though Saturday’s match ended in a 4-4 draw.
“Knowing Richard he will not be happy with the goals they conceded, but they have scored seven in two league games,” added Neal. “One of the hardest parts of football is scoring goals so I am sure he will be delighted with that. Richard is a good guy and he knows ‘Coxy’ well from their younger days (at Scunthorpe United). Cambridge did well in the summer with their signings. Last season they were big and strong, but this season they have the same attributes and have added quality.
“I think we will know about their strengths, but they will know about ours. It is about stopping them on the day, who plays the best and the team that wins the battles. That is what will make the difference.”
Neal said that he will check on his players tomorrow before selecting a squad with Ade Azeez currently doubtful.
“We have a couple of niggles,” Neal added. “Ade Azeez has got a little niggle from Saturday when he did a bit of extra work after the match. He has trained today, but has gone to see Stuart Douglas. I will have a look at all the players who have been playing all the games so far. I will also look at how we will be best suited to tomorrow’s game.”
Neal Ardley’s full update and an interview with Paul Robinson ahead of the game against Cambridge United are now both on Dons Player.