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Neal calls for repeat of special atmosphere

"Players can feed off Wimbledon support," says Dons boss

22 September 2017

Rob Cornell

Neal Ardley has urged AFC Wimbledon fans to create the same kind of atmosphere that helped the Dons to a 2-0 victory at home to Milton Keynes last March.

“It’s a night game - like the last time we played them at home – and that last time our supporters were incredible,” said Neal in an interview to our premium iFollow Dons channel.

“I don’t want them to steer too far away from that. The atmosphere and the flow was great. I know it was the first time for the fixture at our place, but if we can keep producing that, I’m sure the players can draw off it.”

A clip of Neal's six-minute interview ahead of tonight's game is available below, via our official club YouTube channel.

The Dons boss has experienced midfielder Jimmy Abdou available again for selection tonight, as the Millwall loanee has completed a three-match ban for being sent-off at Blackpool.

However, Academy graduate Anthony Hartigan remains very much in Neal’s thoughts for this evening and he has no qualms about calling upon the 17 year-old after a string of very good performances.

“Anthony has been brilliant and like I said before and I’ve said it to people - I see a lot of what I need to see about a young player in training with the first team. That’s why we train our 21s with the first-team quite often – you can see things.

“Right from the moment he stepped through the door to train with the first-team, he’s done nothing but impress everybody. He’s got my trust and if he is in the team, the way he has gone about things, I expect him to handle it.

“At some point in the season we need to look at his age and fragility that comes with that and look after that, but at the moment the boy has been wonderful.

Neal highlighted that perhaps the Dons should have pushed on and got a second goal at a key time in last weekend’s victory at Ewood Park, but he isn’t greedy about how future Wimbledon wins come about.

“I’m happy with one goal – as long as we win the game! I think we had chances at Blackburn and I saw a lot of stuff come out about where it made it sound like they dominated and should have won by five, but that wasn’t the case – they has two clear cut chances all game and we had four.

“It’s just those moments when the second goal calms you down and it can be the deciding factor of you going on and winning comfortably.

“If you look at the Doncaster game, earlier in the season, we scored that second goal quite quickly after the first and it settles everyone down and the performance flows from there. It was nice and it was rare for us get our noses in front at Blackburn and we haven’t done it enough this season, but that second goal can really calm the nerves down.

“Let’s just start with one for now and we’ll kick on from there!”

The full pre-match interview with Neal Ardley, ahead of the game against Milton Keynes, is available to subscribers of our premium iFollow Dons channel. 

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