Interview with former defender after his return
Ryan Sweeney helped instigate defeat for AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, but our former defender believes his old club will continue to progress in the future after consolidating League One status.
The Dons academy product showed all the credentials that attracted Stoke City’s interest with his towering display nullifying Neal Ardley’s men and earning all three points for Bristol Rovers.
Since departing last summer, Ryan has kept in touch with Wimbledon’s fortunes and he was delighted with the reception given to him by supporters on Saturday.
“It is still one of the first results that I check,” said Ryan. “I still have a lot of good friends down here. The club has had a fantastic season with cementing League One status for next season and I think that is hugely positive. It is a club moving in the right direction and I am sure they will be looking to challenge again next season. It’s a great club and they have had a really great season.
“It was a strange one (coming back). I am used to walking into the home dressing room. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and obviously getting a good reception was a positive for me.”
Speaking to WDON’s Rob Cornell after Saturday’s win for Bristol Rovers, the video interview is available to view on our official You Tube channel via the link above.
Ryan was impressed with fellow AFC Wimbledon academy product Alfie Egan’s display on Saturday, adding that the midfielder caused problems for Rovers in the first-half.
“Alfie played well and he was picking up positions at the back of our two midfielders - in between the lines” said Ryan. “We tried to rectify that at half-time by moving the shape around a bit. We moved to four at the back and I thought we nullified it a bit better in the second-half. I was impressed with Alfie, he has obviously had a good season stepping in, and he is looking to kick-on now. It was a tight game and I thought Wimbledon played well. Obviously, we got the quick goal and we knew what type of game it was going to be. It was a dogged performance from us and it’s always nice to keep a clean sheet.”
Though Ryan is currently enjoying his loan spell at Rovers, he’s learned plenty under the tutelage of Stoke Under-21 coach Glyn Hodges, who still retains that bit of Crazy Gang spirit from his old Wimbledon days!
“I have seen that sort of side to him! But he is a great coach and I have learned a lot from him during my time there so far. I thought it was the right time to come out on loan so that I could get some first-team games under my belt. I am enjoying the experience.”