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Neal seeks Vale response

17 December 2016

Preview of final home game of 2016

Neal Ardley is eager for his squad to recapture the form of an impressive calendar year as they look to go into the Christmas spell with a win under their belts.

Tomorrow’s match against Port Vale is the final home game for AFC Wimbledon in a year that included a magical day at Wembley in May when promotion was achieved.

Neal Ardley:

“You need sometimes to take a broader spectrum and if you look at the run of form that the boys have shown since January, it has been really good. But we are still disappointed with last week because that meant a lot to us and it did not happen the way we wanted it to. Now it is a case of looking for some points to go into the Christmas period with. If it sends our fans home happy at the same time, it will be great as that is always our intention.

“We need to get back to playing really well again. We need to look at the performance and the functioning of the team. It clearly didn’t last week. We stuttered a bit against Brighton, although we had some good spells and at Curzon we got ourselves out of a hole. Against Fleetwood we were missing six players, but we did not perform in the first-half, even though we turned it around in the second-half.

“We need to get the performance levels back because when we perform as a group and have that cohesive unit we are a match for anyone. If we can put another three points on the board it will take us into the Christmas period in good spirits inside the top-10. We have to get some of the good feeling back and the good habits that got us the results prior to the run lately.

“Port Vale are a good footballing team and they had a good start to the season, but they’ve stuttered a bit lately. The league is so tight from fourth or fifth place downwards. The teams at the bottom are starting to pick-up points. We need the points, not just because Port Vale are behind us, but with a couple of bad performances you could be looking over your shoulders the other way. I keep talking about getting to 52 or 53 points because that should get where you need to be to stay in the league, which is the main thing.”

Opposition view:

Bruno Ribeiro

“We play what players we have available at this moment, and I put the best 11 out that I can every game. I am happy with every player at the moment, but I am just disappointed to be conceding from set pieces.

“We will try to win these three games coming up and get all nine points to get into the top six again. I am very ambitious and want to finish in the top six. The players are still working very hard until the end of the season, and hopefully we will finish in the top six.”

Sam Kelly

“The games are coming thick and fast and we have another big game coming up against Wimbledon. We will certainly fancy ourselves. Our away form is not great, but we have done our homework on them. We will be going out there to put our stamp on the game. We will not be going there just for a point, we will going there to win.”

Team news:

For Wimbledon, Andy Barcham is back in the reckoning after shaking off a hamstring injury, but Jon Meades (ankle) is doubtful. Will Nightingale (knee) and Chris Whelpdale (groin) are both ruled out.

Experienced pair Ben Purkiss and Jerome Thomas are both back in full training after injury for Vale and they are pushing for recalls to the squad.

Last meeting:

Port Vale 3 AFC Wimbledon 0 (5 February 2013)

Form guide: (Last 6 in all competitions, starting with most recent)

AFC Wimbledon LLWDDW

Port Vale LWDDLW


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