Manager's reaction after Bradford defeat
Neal Ardley said there was no reason for his players to feel downhearted after they gave everything in defeat to Bradford City today.
The Dons were beaten for the first time since 10 September with a late goal from James Hanson, but Neal was proud of his players afterwards.
Speaking during his post-match reaction for Dons Player, Neal said: “I told the boys afterwards that there is no doom and gloom. We have to get the boys back and go on another run. We have a tough week coming up and the job of the staff is to put a really strong team out for the FA Cup. Then we have to keep five players in the team for the Checkatrade Trophy, before a long trip to Oldham. We have to keep the players fresh and it’s going to be a challenge, but we are going to try and win all three games.
“I said to the boys beforehand and in the press that we should have a right go at them today. We did that and I think the fans appreciated it. I said to Stuart McCall afterwards that they have a really good team there. It means a lot the reaction you get from the fans. When I walked around I got a sense of ‘you have had a real go, unlucky’. I’ve always said that if the players play like they care and run themselves into the ground, the fans will be happy with it and I thought they were.
“Before they scored I thought it was a hard-earned point. Both teams were gung-ho and had a right good go at it. I thought there were two target men out there who were exceptional with Hanson for them and Tom for us. They played like two good old-fashioned target men. They both had a big bearing on the match, but unfortunately Hanson has popped up and had a bigger bearing on it at the end.”
Neal added that he had not yet seen the video back of the incident that led to the game-changing award of a penalty to Bradford to make it 2-2.
However, the manager did say that Dominic Poleon and Darius Charles were both not deemed fit enough to play in today’s game.
“We lost two players on Friday and another one with Chris Robertson, whose partner is due to have a baby,” Neal said. “So we lost three on the eve of the game. We thought we were going to be really strong and it would be difficult to pick a team, but unfortunately it got cut in two by certain things.”
Full post-match reaction is now on Dons Player and an interview with Dannie Bulman will follow tomorrow.