Manager on tomorrow's play-off semi-final first leg
Neal Ardley has called on Wimbledon supporters to stay patient and keep the faith in his team during what he expects to be a tense battle against Accrington Stanley tomorrow.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “They’ve got to make as much noise as they can and make it as intimidating as possible. It’s an exciting game for all of us and there is an anxiety to achieve what we want to achieve, and what we don’t want is for that coming from them onto the players.
“It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be tense, there’s not going to be much in the game. They need to get behind the players even when things aren’t flowing and going right, and that’s in both games, we’ve got to be really positive after a great season. That could be the thing that pushes us over the line.”
The two previous matches this season between the two sides ended in a 4-3 win for Wimbledon and a 0-0 draw. Neal is expecting another close battle against an Accrington side that he has compared favourably to Premier League Champions Leicester City in terms of their achievements at a lower league level.
“They have done their club proud,” added Neal. “I know they are probably gutted about their last day of the season, but what an achievement from them. I have likened them to Leicester with their over-achievements and there is Burton Albion’s achievements too, it is phenomenal stuff. Throw us into the mix as we feel that we fall under that category. For one of Accrington or Wimbledon to be in a final at Wembley is a fantastic success story and we hope it is us.
“I think it will be tight and there will not be much between the teams. In the 4-3 game we had come off the back of a hammering against Morecambe and it took us to go 2-0 down to really kick-on. In the final 75 minutes we were as good as we’ve been all season. In the 0-0 game the two teams showed each other a lot of respect and it became cagey. It is going to be tense and I would be surprised if it’s end-to-end, flowing stuff. It may be more so in the second leg.”
The full six-minute update from Neal is on Dons Player and an interview with Darius Charles will follow later on.