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PREVIEW: Simon expects different kind of challenge against Bradford

Watch the Dons take on promotion-chasers tomorrow

22 December 2017

By Chris Slavin

Simon Bassey recalled a previous win against Bradford with great satisfaction as it helped Wimbledon to stay in the league and three more important points against the Bantams tomorrow would provide a big Christmas lift.

Bradford will arrive at the Cherry Red Records Stadium keen to extend their impressive form in League One and one of our promotion heroes Jake Reeves (pictured) is likely to return for the first time since leaving for Yorkshire in the summer. Dominic Poleon and Charlie Wyke are other former Dons in the Bradford squad.

Below are quotes from first-team management on both sides, plus other relevant information.

Simon Bassey

"Wigan are a bit more possession-based than Bradford, who play a different shape. They've mixed it up a bit over the last few weeks. I've watched four of their games and their shape altered a bit. We will have to wait for their team-sheet to see what shape they are going to play. They have got goals in them, but I watched the Rochdale game the other day and they will concede them too. We have to concentrate on both ends of our performance, in and out of possession. We have to work hard and it should be a good game."

Stuart McCall

"There is no way we will be getting complacent. A quick look at the league table would suggest Wimbledon haven't been in the greatest form at the moment, but we know they are better than that. Their (4-0) loss to Wigan was actually closer than the final scoreline suggested. There is good belief and momentum in the squad - but no complacency. People will look at our other results away from home this season and think we can pick another one up on Saturday. We are not naive enough to think it will be that simple. We remember that our only away loss this season came at Bury, who are now currently bottom of the league."

Previous matches

Bradford won both matches against Wimbledon last season, the first of them a narrow 3-2 victory at the Cherry Red Records Stadium last October, with James Hanson's injury-time header winning it. However, there was a particularly significant win for Wimbledon against Bradford in 2012/13 with a last-gasp winner from Gary Alexander helping the Dons towards League 2 survival.

"I remember the pitch was not the best, but the atmosphere was really good," said Simon Bassey. "We gave a poor goal away, but we came back with a last-minute winner. I remember we had a corner in the last minute, which was whipped in across the front and Gary Alexander headed it wide. Then we had another corner, pretty much straight after, and Gary managed to score. Last minute goals are fantastic, the crowd love them. I remember that the crowd was fantastic and it was a good three points on our way to safety."

It came just a week before Bradford's amazing League Cup run – including a win against Arsenal – concluded with defeat in the final at Wembley against Swansea.

To watch highlights from that memorable victory, click on the link below.

Team news

For Wimbledon, Paul Robinson is an injury doubt with a back strain, but Kwesi Appiah, Anthony Hartigan and Callum Kennedy all staked their claims after injury with appearances for the development squad in midweek. Harry Forrester is suspended for one-match after his sending off against Wigan last time out.

Stuart McCall reported that he will check on Nathaniel Knight-Percival's fitness ahead of the game and that other players picked up knocks after the victory at Southend United.

Jake Reeves makes his return

Midfielder Jake Reeves made over 100 appearances for Wimbledon during two spells at the club and the undoubted highlights was when he played a key role in our promotion success at Wembley.

Simon Bassey recalled: "I remember going to watch a centre-forward for Brentford, but I came back and said to the manager, 'you have to take this boy, he is different class'. Personally, I am pleased to see him doing well. He was great for us, a great lad to have around the place, and a really important member of our team. He gave really good service for us, so I am really pleased to see him going on in his career."

Jake spoke in glowing terms about his time here, in an interview for the Bradford Telegraph & Argus. You can read the article online.

Previous meeting

Bradford 3-0 Wimbledon (22 April 2017)

Last time out

AFC Wimbledon 0-4 Wigan

Southend United 1-2 Bradford

Form guide (all competitions, starting with most recent)

Bradford WWLWWL

Wimbledon LLWLDW


All seat tickets are sold out, but we do have places available for the Chemflow and RyGas terraces. These can be purchased in advance from our online ticket shop until 11.00 am on Saturday and collected pre-match from the white booth in Jack Goodchild Way. Tickets will also be available to buy on the day at the turnstiles.

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