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Neal: fans raised the bar

22 April 2016

Manager delighted with progress made, ahead of Orient

Neal Ardley has praised the support he’s received from the club and its fans after transforming AFC Wimbledon into play-off contenders.

Vying for a top-seven place is a far cry from almost three years ago when the Dons stayed up in dramatic circumstances by beating Fleetwood on 27 April 2013.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player ahead of tomorrow’s game against Leyton Orient, Neal Ardley said: “When I took over three-and-a-half years ago I set out to make the club better. There was obviously a stabilising period when we had to first and foremost stay in the league. We achieved our goal and we then tried to help the infrastructure of the club. We bridged the gap between the academy and the Under-21s and improved the training facilities. Then it becomes about trying to attract better players.

“I look at the squad I had when I first took over and at the squad now and I’m delighted with it, but we needed people from the We Are Wimbledon Fund and Mike Richardson to be fantastic supporters. They helped us raise the bar. It’s a great club and if we do manage to finish the season strongly and realise our dreams we are in a good position to move forward.”

Neal was also quick to recognise stability behind-the-scenes at AFC Wimbledon as a key factor allowing him to take the club forward.

“It is fantastic,” said Neal. “I was talking with the Crawley management team last week about the problems clubs have and I mentioned about how good a club this is. Yes, we have budget restraints, various issues and stuff you would like to improve upon, but the rope that the board give you to run the club could not be better. The way also that they are philosophical when we lose games. They have given us a chance to progress the club and grow it. That has helped us to do our job, which is fantastic.”

Neal Ardley’s full update ahead of Orient is on Dons Player, along with an interview with Andy Barcham.

The club wishes to thank volunteers for turning up at short notice this morning to help with preparing the pitch for tomorrow’s game against Leyton Orient.

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