By Rob Cornell
The young Dons had their final training session at Southfields Academy this evening, before setting off in the morning to face Plymouth at Home Park in the second round of the FA Youth Cup (7pm kick-off).
Academy Head of Football and Coach Mark Robinson was pleased with how preparations went and he’s named the squad for the trip to Devon.
“We had to make a few changes as there was a possibility that we might have had Anthony Hartigan for the game, but that’s not the case because he is needed for the first team,” said Mark.
You can see an extensive preview with Mark Robinson on our official club YouTube channel, via a link below.
“Generally it’s gone really well. We’ve got the formation sorted out in terms of how we’re going to play. We’ve gone into quite a bit of detail, but you can only do so much because it is Monday after Saturday’s game. We rested quite a few players so that we could do a longer session than we normally do on a Monday. It’s gone well, so I’m pleased.
“We’re starting with two under-16s tomorrow as we’ve got quite a lot of injuries. Defender Tom Scott, the captain, is out and we’ve got four or five other lads out as well, including striker Tino Carpene as the game has come just a little bit too soon for him. Osaze Urhoghide had a little bit of a problem with his hip, but he played on Saturday and came through it.
“Young defenders Jack Currie and Archie Proctor haven’t looked out of place at all though. They’ve both done really well. Jack has played a few more games than Archie at left-back. He needed his confidence building up a little bit, but he has got there now.
“Archie is completely different. He’s just come in, loved it and was almost like – ‘Robbo – you’re not dropping me!’.
The winners of Tuesday’s night’s tie will face last season’s runners-up Manchester City at home, but Mark wants his side to approach every game in the same manner.
“Everyone keeps saying to me – ‘what a great incentive’, but I don’t look at it like that if I’m honest,” said Mark. “Their incentive is to want to play football every single game. Obviously to have Manchester City in the next round would be great, but I don’t see why that should change their enthusiasm to be honest.
“They should have the same enthusiasm for every single game they pull on a Wimbledon shirt. Playing Manchester City is just a by-product of what we should be doing every week. I expect them to show the traits of what we expect tomorrow night, basically.
First the young Dons must come through a tough away tie ahead of them and Mark and his assistant James Oliver-Pearce saw hosts Plymouth win impressively in the previous round.
“They were good. They played Eastleigh and won 7-2. They’ve got some good players, they’re disciplined and they all know what they are doing. They are effective in what they do. We’re going to have to be at our very best to get a result.
“We’ve spoken about moving the ball quicker, because it’s a nice big pitch there and how we’re going to hurt them, but at the same time keeping ourselves nice and secure.
“My final message to my players is to stick to our plan, stick to what we do and play with freedom – remember the bits of detail that we go through as they are the things that can make a difference both on and off the ball. Make sure that we show that Wimbledon identity.”
AFC Wimbledon squad: Thomas Miles (GK), Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu (GK), Jack Currie, Archie Proctor, Osaze Urhoghide, Rueben Collins, Dean Perana, Tyrique Spencer-Clarke, Ethan Nelson-Roberts (c), Ossama Ashley, Tyler Burey, Great Nii-Okai Evans, Bobby Mills, Donte Lodge-Francis, Ayoub Assal, Jamil Awoyejo.
Our photo shows the AFC Wimbledon squad at the end of their session under the floodlights at Southfields Academy.