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Lyle reaps the rewards

23 February 2016

Preview ahead of tonight's Carlisle match

Neal Ardley says that Lyle Taylor’s work ethic is the key to his impressive first season with AFC Wimbledon.

The 25-year-old striker (pictured scoring against Luton) has notched 14 goals in all competitions heading into tonight’s game at home to Carlisle United.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Taylor before joining the Dons as he had 12 clubs, including loans, before Neal Ardley swooped last summer.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “Lyle has a really good team around him that do a lot of good stuff. We talk all the time here about the team ethic and we want the front two to be the best two defenders. He has embraced that and has worked his socks off.

“It’s no coincidence that when he works hard for the team he scores goals. The times when those levels have dipped have been when he’s not scored. He needs to look at that and think ‘I have got it now’. He is an intelligent lad. Lyle feels loved here. The staff respect him and know his qualities and I think that goes a long way to him repaying it back. Perhaps he has not had that in the past.”

Ahead of a hectic spell of fixtures, Neal has praised the attitude of players in his squad who have not been starting games recently.

“The likes of Callum Kennedy, James Shea, Sean Rigg, Ade Azeez and Bayo Akinfenwa are integral to how the team is playing,” added Neal. “Their attitudes have been first class and long may that continue. I’ve given them (players not in starting 11) a message in private, but they know from the last few weeks how important they are. I make them aware of it every single day. They are important to the standards of training, important around the place, and we treat them with respect. We work them hard and try to improve them as players.

“If you put your dynamic players through seven games in three weeks you are going to end up having a dip at some point and risk injuries. We have to work out how to keep it fresh, without making too many changes. We don’t want to change the shape if we can help it or change too much about the starting line-up because they are playing well. But we need to keep it fresh at the same time in a few areas as we go along. That’s going to be a difficult task for me, but we are looking at certain games that may suit certain players.”

Carlisle visit the Cherry Red Records Stadium tonight with Neal fully aware of the threat that Keith Curle’s side will pose as they also still have play-off ambitions.

“They are a good team and Keith has done a good job,” said Neal. “They were a little bit more open with the way they played earlier in the season, but they have steadied the ship. They are not conceding many goals, but sometimes you lose your creativity with that.

and anyone in that group will feel their season is still going.”th or 13th“But Charlie Wyke and Ibehre are a handful up top. Carlisle have got good strength, height and are dangerous from set pieces. They are a good team that I expected to be in the play-off mix when I watched a lot of their games earlier in the season. They have not disappointed. With a couple of games hand, Carlisle will feel they are right in it if they beat us. There is probably a mini-league now from third down to 12

 In-depth interviews with Neal Ardley and Andy Barcham ahead of tonight’s match against Carlisle are on Dons Player. 

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