Captain prepared for start of pre-season at Dover
Dons’ captain Barry Fuller knows the time for celebrating is well and truly over and the hard graft moves up a gear again tonight.
AFC Wimbledon visit Dover Athletic (7.45pm kick-off at Crabble) for the first of six pre-season friendly games before League One football begins at Walsall on August 6. It’s the first game for Neal Ardley’s new look side since that special day at Wembley and the League Two play-off final victory over Plymouth Argyle at the end of May.
“We’ve got to put that exciting day behind us now and look ahead to the new season and kick on from what we did last year,” said Fuller in an interview to Dons Player.
Travelling Dons fans will be eager to get a first glimpse of Neal’s four new signings in action – goalkeeper Ryan Clarke and outfield players Chris Whelpdale, Dean Parrett and Dominic Poleon
“The new signings we’ve made have made the squad strong and they are here to play obviously, so the gaffer is going to have a tough decision on is hands when it comes to the season and we’ll see what happens. They’ve been great in training and settled in really well and are all great lads and I’m sure there’ll be one or two more,” added the fully committed right-back.
Fuller can see the potential in Poleon, similar to former fans’ favourite Ade Azeez – now with Partick Thistle.
“He’s a young lad, like Ade was. We all helped Ade improve his game and Dom is already working hard and doing extra work to improve, but he looks like he could be a really exciting player for us and the fans will take to him quite quick.”
Wimbledon only returned to training at the start of last week and the skipper is realistic about where his side are very early on in their preparations.
“We’ve been playing quite a few short burst games of nine and ten minutes in our first week. Obviously we’re a week or ten days behind a lot of clubs what with the play-offs. It worked last year for the gaffer, so we’ve done quite a few short blocks in that first week and we’ve done the same at the start of this week and we’re ready for Tuesday’s game.”
“We know it’s going to be a tough one as Dover had a good season, but we know it’s not about results now in pre-season, it’s about fitness levels and tempo really. We want to get a good tempo straight from the start as we know we haven’t got as long as we would have liked as it’s a shorter pre-season and we’ve got to make sure we get going straight from the start.”
“There are some nice fixtures in there to look forward to, especially bringing Reading and Crystal Palace to Kingsmeadow as well. It’ll be nice to get back on the pitch and have our fans behind us, but as always in pre-season it’s about getting the cobwebs and summer holidays out of your system and get ready to go. The closer we get to the season it’ll be about who gets that shirt on the first day.”
The full interview with Barry Fuller, including his thoughts on all the players and some good friends who moved on in the break, is now available to Dons Player subscribers.