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Neal on Oxford challenge: "We'll have a proper go at them"

Views, team news and stats ahead of the game at the Kassam Stadium

6 October 2017

Neal Ardley is pleased with the strength of his squad, but he recognises the threat posed by an Oxford side under new management.

United's Catalan boss Pep Clotet is very aware of Wimbledon's history. He also knows the potential threat his new-look side face, if they are to get anything against the Dons this season.

Clotet, aged 40, has worked in Spain, Sweden and Norway – before being an assistant at both Swansea City and Leeds United. He took over from Michael Appleton, following his summer departure to Leicester City.

Oxford lost 5-4 on penalties in midweek to Brighton and Hove Albion Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy. Wimbledon will be looking to build upon the winning feeling within the squad, after a 4-3 victory against Tottenham Under-21s.

AFC Wimbledon did the double over Oxford last season and ended a long run of defeats and two goalless draws – both back in season 2014/15.

Management comments

Neal Ardley –

"We'll go and try and have a proper go at them. The way we're playing, in our performances, we should feel confident in doing that.

"We look at these games (Checkatrade Trophy matches) as a chance for players coming back from injury, but we also earmark them for players who are not in the team, so that they can stake a claim.

"One or two have certainly said, whether it's on Saturday or not, 'if you are ready to put me in, I'm ready to go' and that's good for us. We've got good competition for places.

"Oxford came from behind to win against Peterborough. They're a good team and have got a good manager, from what I hear. People that have worked with him have said that he is excellent and that's shown in some of their results,

"It's a slight tweak on how they were last season and they're trying to take it forward. They're at home and will expect to dominate the game and expect to beat us.

"We've got to try and keep their performance levels where they have been those last few weeks and add that little bit at the other end."

Pep Clotet –

"When I came to England as a kid I saw a lot of games from the Crazy Gang and Vinnie Jones, and when I was at Swansea I spoke a lot with Jack Cork whose dad Alan played for them in that era. That was great and I know we are in for a very tough game again on Saturday.

"They have speed and technique in wide areas, they mark tightly in the middle of the park, and that makes it very physical in the centre. They are not in a fantastic position in the league but they haven't been having really bad results; they have competed in every game and we know it will be hard for us on Saturday."

Team news -

Left-back Jon Meades and striker Kwesi Appiah remain ruled out, while winger Harry Forrester is doubtful after suffering from a midweek illness.

Oxford's Albanian international striker Agon Mehmeti could be out for several weeks with a torn hamstring.

He joins Charlie Raglan and Sam Long on the long term injured list. However Jon Obika and Dwight Tiendalli are making good progress, but are more likely to be in contention for next weekend.

Oxford welcome defenders John Mousinho and Ricardinho back into their squad after they were rested.

Last time out –

Sky Bet League One –
Peterborough United 1, Oxford United 4
AFC Wimbledon 0, Rochdale 0

Last meeting –

January 14, 2017,
Sky Bet League One –
AFC Wimbledon 2, Oxford United 1.

Tickets –

Tickets will be available on the day at the Kassam Stadium, click here for more information.

Match coverage –

Tune into iFollow for live match commentary from our WDON team. Overseas subscribers can watch a live stream of the game by subscribing to iFollow.


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