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Neal expects tight battle

20 February 2015

Dons v Luton preview

Neal Ardley is under no illusions that it will be another tough battle against Luton Town tomorrow, but he says his squad are ready to go again with a busy spell of fixtures coming up.

A surprise loss for the Hatters at Mansfield on Tuesday ended a run of seven games unbeaten with manager John Still having engineered a promotion charge in Luton’s first season back in the Football League.

However, the Dons will also be looking to get back on track after their own unbeaten run – four matches – came to an end. Prior to defeat at Shrewsbury, Neal Ardley's men had earned positive results against top-six sides Newport County and Burton Albion.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “We’ve got over the first glut of games that we had with some midweek matches. We knew this would be the only full week of training that we would have during this spell. We’ve had a good week of trying to cover as much as we can with the team, while freshening the players up at the same time. Now we go again with five games in two weeks.

“We’ve played three teams in the top six in recent weeks and Luton will be the fourth. These teams are near the top for a reason. If you look at the amount of goals that Luton have conceded it’s clear that they don’t give much away. John Still is as good a manager as you can get in the lower leagues. He is right up there. His teams are always hard to play against and they function well as a team. That’s what we are going to have to face. It is not going to be a free-flowing game that we are going to dominate.

“It is going to be a tight game and we will need to try and do all our bits right that win you matches. It may well come down to one or two key moments and taking your chances. When we were 1-0 up against Newport they had a great chance to equalise, but they missed and we went onto win the game 2-0. Last week against Shrewsbury we had defended really well, but then Liam Lawrence came up with a bit of brilliance. Those moments sway games. In a tight game against a very good team we will need to try and create those moments and take our chances when they come.”

Dave Winfield was drafted in barely 48 hours before that Shrewsbury game to reinforce the defence and Neal Ardley believes his style of play will be well suited to the opponents Wimbledon face in the coming weeks.

“We needed a player who knew about this league to come in during a hectic spell,” added Neal. “We did not want someone who we had to spend ages with teaching him about the league. Dave knows football at this level, but obviously he has to get his sharpness up to where it needs to be. It was tough for him on Saturday, but I thought he did really well.

“It was tough in the last 20 minutes when we went two versus two at the back at a time when he was probably fatigued. We asked a lot of Dave, but I thought he coped well. He is a confident lad. We are up against some good target men in the next three or four weeks and we believe that Dave will come into his own then.”

  if you missed Neal’s update yesterday.Team NewsFull interviews with Neal Ardley and Dave Winfield are featured on Dons Player. Click on 

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