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George ready for a battle at Southend

Keeper aims to maintain solid start to Dons career

26 September 2017

By Rob Cornell

Goalkeeper George Long is prepared for a battle tonight, as Wimbledon look to get their League One campaign back on track at Southend United.

"They're a big physical team, they're all about set-pieces and bombarding the box," said George in an interview to our premium iFollow Dons channel.

"We've been running through things – the long throws, the corners, so we know what to expect and we won't be caught by surprise when they start pumping it into the box. It's down to us to defend well and keep solid as a unit and we know that going forward we create chances and it's about turning those chances into goals right now."

"Southend are only a few places above us in the league and it'll be another really tight game. It's like a lot of games in League One – competitive and anyone can beat anyone on a given day. We know that when we perform to our capabilities, that we can put teams under pressure and get results.

A clip of George's interview is avaiable via a link to our official club YouTube channel below.

Centre-back Will Nightingale was able to train ahead of the game and George is pleased to have his room-mate on away trips back in contention, after recovering from a neck strain.

"Having Will back in the defence is another good addition. He's solid and done really good when he's come in as well. Everyone knows what you get with Will, he's strong and he attacks the ball, he can play with his feet and it's great to have him back."

The Sheffield United loanee, along with the back-line, will be aiming to keep another clean sheet, having done so in both of Wimbledon's victories so far this season – at home to Doncaster and, crucially, away at Blackburn. George pulled off an amazing save late on to protect the Dons lead to earn three vital points on the road.

"It just sort of happened pretty quick at the time! I actually didn't think much of it, when it happened. It was just, sort of, about reactions and it was a scramble and we got the ball away.

"Fortunately enough Baz Fuller was there to clear it. I was just hoping he didn't put it 'top-bin' past me! He was quick off the mark to clear it. It was a big team effort to defend and obviously the home crowd were right behind them and pushing them on, but we held on and got a really important three points.

George was able to take the positives from Friday night's defeat to Milton Keynes, as the Dons go in search of points at Roots Hall this evening.

"It was a tough result to take, performance wise though we did play well. We created chances and we just couldn't put them away, so that was the difference between both teams.

"They didn't have that many chances, but they took them early on. It puts you on the back foot, conceding early, but the boys are still confident and positive because of how we're playing at the moment. If we keep that up, we'll pick up results."

The Yorkshireman, born and bred in Sheffield, has become an instant favourite with Dons fans and is enjoying his spell down south so far.

"It's been brilliant," said George." It's a new experience for me, but I've settled in really well and I'm loving life down here. With Bayzo (Ashley Bayes) as goalie coach, we're improving all the time and looking at different aspects of my game.

"After each game and we'll sit down and go through the DVD. We'll pick bits out where I did well and where I should do better - it's just about constant improvement."

The full interview with George Long is available to subscribers of iFollow Dons, along with the pre-match thoughts of assistant manager Neil Cox.


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