Captain looks ahead to Barnet with gusto
Wimbledon captain Barry Fuller is determined to round off a special week for him by getting the better of close friend Curtis Weston tomorrow.
It meant a lot for Fuller (pictured) to reach the 100 mark for Dons league appearances against Northampton and he is relishing the prospect of taking on his old club Barnet.
There’s certainly no divided loyalties for the Wimbledon captain, but it’s likely to be different for a group of young players from his Fuller Weston Football Academy. Fuller runs it with the Barnet skipper and around 20 children from the academy, plus parents, will be watching from the stands at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
“Hopefully, they will be following the Dons because it’s at our place,” said Fuller. “The kids all love Bayo too and I would like to think that they will be cheering us on. It’s a great experience for them to see us playing against each other for the first time. Our head coach at the academy is the one who has been talking about it a lot and I think he has called for a 0-0 draw. I will take a clean sheet, but I want to win.
“I played with Curtis for five-and-a-half years. We had some good times together at Gillingham, including winning promotion via the plays-off from League 2. Then we signed on the same day for Barnet. Curtis has stayed on and earned success by helping Barnet back into the league, but I joined Wimbledon and I have loved every minute of it.
“When Barnet last came here I was sat in the stands next to a few boys from Wimbledon who were not in the squad. I was suspended for that game, but I remember it being a great atmosphere. It was a six-pointer and after we won here it felt like we had the edge in it (relegation battle), but Wimbledon stayed up. I am glad thankfully now with the way it turned out!”
Fuller, who made his Football League debut at the age of 20 for Barnet, added that his achievement in reaching 100 appearances is one he treasures, particularly as he fought back from a serious knee injury at Gillingham that could have ended his career.
“Barnet gave me my debut so I am thankful to them for that,” added Fuller. “I enjoyed my time at the club, but I was there when they got relegated and that was obviously difficult. I got on really well with the club and the players there, but I ended up leaving to come here. To make 100 league appearances for Wimbledon in such a short space of time is a great achievement. A lot of people said that I would not play 30 games in a season, but I have played 40-plus every season here. Hopefully, there will be many more to come.
“This season the results have sometimes not reflected our performances. We have lost just once in seven games so we have been hard to beat. People thought that we were very direct and just used Bayo a lot, but I think in the last few weeks we have shown that we can play football. There are still things to work on, but we are moving in the right direction.
“The whole time I have played in League 2 it has been about consistency. If you can go on a little run it can push you towards that top seven. Luton were hovering near the bottom, but now they have won three in a row and they are right up there. It is so tight and if we get a win on Saturday it will push us back up there.”
The video interview with Barry first featured on Dons Player earlier today and our premium channel also includes a six-minute interview with Neal Ardley ahead of Barnet.