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Preview: A battle for the points for different reasons

Views of both managers ahead of Saturday's game

6 April 2018

AFC Wimbledon and Scunthorpe do battle on Saturday with completely different aspirations in League One during the remainder of this season.

Wimbledon need more points on the board to ensure a third season in League One, but The Iron still have hopes of gate-crashing the play-off places after a win-less run from the last six matches.

Neal Ardley has called on everyone to unite in the fight to stay up and the manager has been working hard to get his side scoring again.

Lyle Taylor (pictured) is one of four former Scunthorpe players in the Wimbledon squad with Andy Barcham, Liam Trotter, and Callum Kennedy also having had spells at Glanford Park in the past.

Below are the views from both camps, plus stats, and other key information ahead of the game.

Neal Ardley

"We always work on us and on our play. We have to look at the strengths of our team. In the past we had Akinfenwa and Tom Elliott, so we would look to get into good crossing areas because that's what those players want. We've not got those players in the team now and we have to find different ways. It's hard sometimes. We had a game-plan against Fleetwood with switches of play, doubling up on the sides against a 3-5-2. We focused on patterns of play, we trained brilliantly on it, and I thought for 35 minutes we did it really well.

"It was all about getting the right players in the right areas to create things. Barchy, Harry, Lyle, Egli and Dean Parrett are all the type of players you want out there. We've worked hard on that, but unfortunately the longer the game went on against Fleetwood, the harder it got to move the ball quickly. We will look to continue in the same vein. We will look at the opposition, work out a strategy, but we always encourage the boys to commit to the attacks. To do it at pace and have a right go. We don't want to be striking in crosses from 50 yards out because we haven't got the players to do much from it. We will play to our strengths as much as we can.

"I know Nick Daws quite well as I've been on coaching courses with him. He is a good guy. He made one change at Oxford as he tweaked the formation to a 4-2-3-1 from the 4-4-2 that Graham Alexander had played. You don't know whether it will have a positive effect on them. They want to be in the play-offs and they are good enough to be in there. We are fighting to stay in League One and we are good enough to be there. It will be close, there will not be much between the two sides. There will be small margins that will decide the game. Where those margins are we don't know. We will bring energy and enthusiasm to the game, but where those margins turn out to be, nobody knows. It's a game of football."

Nick Daws

"We focus a lot on analysing not only our performance, but the opposition's performance too. I've seen enough of AFC Wimbledon over the course of four or five games now to know they can pose a real threat to us. I do think this league is perhaps one of the most competitive.

"The teams with the Championship budgets stand out but, in the three or four seasons now that I've worked at this level, it's always been competitive. I think there will be atmosphere at Kingsmeadow on Saturday. We went there on a Tuesday night previously and it proved enclosed and atmospheric.

"Lyle Taylor has done really well. He's probably closer to his spiritual home in terms of where he's from and that makes it a little bit easier for him. Lyle has shown over the last two or three seasons that he's matured as a player and he's consistently shown that he can play to his strengths. He contributed in his time at this club and we'll always be grateful to any player who's contributed, no matter how many games they've played. He's a great personality and I enjoyed working with him during that short spell. He'll be a test for us."

Team news

Centre-back Darius Charles has returned to full training after a hip injury and he will be monitored ahead of the match. Striker Joe Pigott has struggled to shake off concussion and that was the reason why he missed the defeat against Fleetwood.

For Scunthorpe, right-back Marnick Vermijl (hamstring) and striker Lee Novak (heel) took part in training again this week after making their returns off the bench against Oxford. Midfielder Luke Williams (scar tissue injury) missed training on Thursday, but only because of illness. Jonathon Margetts (knee) is their only long-term absentee.

Last time out

AFC Wimbledon 0, Fleetwood Town 1.

Oxford United 1, Scunthorpe United 1.

Last meeting

August 5, 2017

Sky Bet League One,

Scunthorpe United 1, AFC Wimbledon 1.

Leading scorers

Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon)- 15 goals

Josh Morris (Scunthorpe United) – 11 goals

Tickets

We've had high demand to attend this game with all seat tickets snapped up. However, there are still terrace tickets left to roar on the Dons from the Chemflow End and availability in the RyGas terrace (just £17 for adults).

To guarantee your place, book from our online ticket shop until 11 am on Saturday morning (you can collect pre-match from the white booth in Jack Goodchild Way). Alternatively, you can pay on the day with tickets available at the turnstiles.

Play your part in helping Neal's boys to safety by creating a cracking atmosphere at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Match coverage

If you can't make it to The Cherry Red Records Stadium tomorrow, then follow the game via iFollow. Our WDON team will be providing live commentary for domestic subscribers. For those overseas, you can watch a live stream of the game. Visit our iFollow section on the official website for more details.


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