By Rob Cornell
Lyle Taylor is delighted that AFC Wimbledon fans have two massive occasions to look forward to, but the striker maintains his focus is fully on the visit of league leaders Wigan tomorrow.
An FA Cup tie at Wembley against Tottenham early next year and a return to the spiritual home of Plough Lane in 2019 have lifted supporters spirits over the past fortnight, but the fans favourite is concentrating on the need for points.
“They are the best team in the league - make no bones about that!” said Lyle in an interview to our iFollow Dons channel.” They are going to cause us a lot of problems and it’s about how we counter act that and cause them problems as well.”
A clip of the extensive interview with Lyle Taylor is available below, via a link to our official club YouTube channel.
“To be honest, for us it’s been just another normal week. It’s strange because people will be thinking we don’t really care, but it’s not like that. It’s just that it’s so far in the distance and we take every game as it comes. That’s how we’re programmed and that’s just what we do. It’s been just another day and just about getting ready for another game.
“For the fans to be going home it’s obviously massive and we hope to put on a good performance this weekend and going forwards – from now to when Plough Lane opens.
“The thought of playing in a brand new, purpose-built stadium - which will be state of the art and the best available for that time - it’s great to think about, but in all honesty it’s a long time between now and then! Who knows what is going to happen in football? For the fans though, it’s great that it’s all been announced and put through and hopefully now we can translate that into some more success on the pitch.”
Lyle has also put the FA Cup – third round date against Premier League giants Spurs to the back of his mind, as the Dons look to pick up as many points as possible over the festive period.
“I haven’t really thought about the Tottenham tie. If I said to you right now that I’m not actually bothered by it, I’m not lying! There’s a lot more important games to be played between now and then, so that’s all I’m thinking about is making sure that we get a good performance on Saturday and see where we go from there with regards to points. I’m not too bothered by Tottenham right now.
“There’s no point in thinking about we’re playing Tottenham in however many games time it is, because we might as well just fast forward to the end of the season. It’s just not how it works. We’ve got important games before then and we need to pick up points – it’s a simple as that.”
The Dons have been boosted by the return to training of two players who both made an impact earlier on this season. Lyle is pleased to see young midfielder Anthony Hartigan and fellow striker Kwesi Appiah taking part at the training ground.
“It’s good to have both of them back. We’re a little bit short up front in terms of numbers, so it’s good to have Kwesi back nearing involvement. It’s good to see them both back out there and suffering the cold with us all! I’m sure Stuart Douglas is delighted his list is getting shorter in the physio’s room.
“It’s frustrating! I still haven’t been able to tackle Anthony all season! Every time I go near him he just pops the ball off and just looks at you as if – ‘well, what are you doing in my space? Get out!’
The Montserrat international is also coping better after a particularly emotional time. Having scored two goals in the FA Cup victory over Charlton, Lyle revealed that just hours before his family suffered the loss of a close aunt.
“I’m okay, the only thing I can do is go out and do my job. The manager said to me that if I needed time, then he’ll give it. If it comes to that – then fine. The most normal thing is to just go and play football.
“It might seem strange to fans, or those who don’t play the game, but the most normal, day-to-day thing I can actually do is go out there and run around! That’s just how it is and it’s what I know best. The routine keeps me going.”
The full interview with Lyle Taylor and the pre-match thoughts of manager Neal Ardley, ahead of the visit of Wigan Athletic, are available to subscribers of our iFollow Dons premium channel.