Dons gear up to face Curzon Ashton on Sunday
Jon Meades has heard from his team-mates just how special the FA Cup third round can be, but he says that no one in the AFC Wimbledon squad will be taking non league Curzon Ashton lightly on Sunday.
The fit-again full-back was an Oxford United player when a national TV audience watched Wimbledon push Premier League Liverpool all the way in January 2015, but his own experiences of the famous competition have not been so memorable.
“The Liverpool game gets mentioned every now and then because it was a huge tie for the club,” said Jon. “I remember watching it on TV and it was a great occasion. We gave them a really good game and it could have gone either way. The boys have mentioned what a great night it was. To test yourself against players like Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho is what all footballers want to be doing.
“We know that it is going to be a tough game on Sunday (against Curzon Ashton), especially because it is away from home. They have obviously had a good run to get this far in the competition. Looking back to last season, we started the Forest Green game a bit sloppily and eventually we lost the game. In the second-half we played a lot better and we were a bit unlucky to go out, but if you start like that it’s always going to be an uphill challenge. We will prepare well for Sunday and we need to make sure we start the game right on this occasion.
“When I was at Oxford we played at Grimsby Town and that was a tough game. I think it was a bit similar to what we can expect on Sunday. You put that little bit more pressure on yourself too because you are expected to win. You are often playing at a tight ground against non league opposition on a pitch that is not as good as what you are used to, but it’s the same for both sides. The FA Cup is an amazing competition. We are really looking forward to Sunday and trying to get as far as we can in the cup.”
After a spell of missing games due to injury and suspension, Jon is hoping to now play his part in a season that has gone really well for the club so far.
“It has been a bit frustrating for me lately,” added Jon. “I had an ankle problem, which flared up, and even though I only missed about 10 days, it meant missing quite a few games due to the hectic schedule. The ankle is feeling better now and hopefully it will hold up for the rest of the season. That’s definitely the plan.
“I think the players from last season have upped their levels and the players we signed have added a bit of quality. We’ve had players out through injuries and suspensions, but the players who have come in have not let anyone down. Everyone knows that they have to be on top of their game to keep a place and that’s been a big part of how well we have done this season.”