Respective managers and Dons captain on tomorrow's match
AFC Wimbledon will be cheered on by a large travelling support in the club’s first match at Charlton Athletic since reformation and Neal Ardley has called on his players to rise to the challenge.
The manager knows it will be a tough task against a side unbeaten in the league since an opening day defeat at Bury.
Charlton boss Russell Slade has revitalised a squad relegated from the Championship with several summer signings, including Ricky Holmes, and Josh Magennis, who Neal Ardley converted from a goalkeeper into a striker during his Cardiff Academy days.
: “It was always going to take Russell a little bit of time because he brought quite a few new players in and he needed to get them gelling. It was no surprise that they did not hit the ground running, but he has got his methods over now and the results have picked up. When you have got good players – which they have – you are going to be competitive more often than not. We are under no illusions about the size of the task.Neal Ardley
“Away from home our fans are immense, they get right behind the team, and we are going to need it. As long as we work really hard to be good at what we do and to the best of our ability for the club, I think we will be really competitive in this league.
“We’ve had a look at ourselves because we were very disappointed with the Sheffield United performance. We had quite a harsh video analysis on Tuesday and we’ve tried to take that forward into our training. We challenged them a bit with their mentality. In the second half of the week we’ve tried to work towards the game. We want to get them feeling really good, build them up, and take that anxiety away from their performance. It is about trying to deliver that performance at 3.00 pm on Saturday.”
For Wimbledon to have developed and progressed like they have done is remarkable. Talk about being persistent and relentless in their quest to get back in the league, it is a fantastic story.Russell Slade: “
“Very often, when things like what has happened to Wimbledon happen, these clubs can go into obscurity and they are never seen again, or anywhere near their previous level. Wimbledon are a case of that but they have dragged themselves up to the level where they feel they deserve to be and they do deserve to be in League One now. It’s been an incredible journey.
“Neal Ardley has done a really good job. He knows the club, appreciates the history and I think he has built a certain mentality there after the adversity that they have had to come through. That makes them formidable opponents.
“It’s still a bit too early to look at the table, for me. I think it begins to take real shape after about 12 or 13 games. We’ve made steady progress. We’re six games unbeaten in total so we have a bit of momentum, which is encouraging.”
“I am grateful for the seven years I had at Charlton because I learned my trade there. I was fortunate to be on the bench a couple of times, but I did not make that first-team appearance. When I was at Gillingham I was injured when we played Charlton so I missed out. It will be nice to play there on Saturday.Barry Fuller:
“It was a really tough start to this week and the manager told us a few home truths, which we needed. We’ve rolled our sleeves up since and grafted. As a team we hate conceding goals and it hurts defenders more because it’s our job to stop them. We’ve been working hard as a unit to put that right.
FORM GUIDE (Last 6 in league, starting with most recent)
AFC Wimbledon LWDDLL
LAST TIME OUT
Fleetwood Town 2 Charlton Athletic 2
AFC Wimbledon 2 Sheffield United 3
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