Tom Soares and Scott Wagstaff started their careers at rival clubs in South London, but now the midfield duo remain united in their attempts to keep Wimbledon in League One.
“The boys are fighting everyday to stay up,” said Tom, in an interview with the two senior professionals for our iFollow Dons premium channel. “We need togetherness and the fans behind us, which helps a lot. We’ll fight and get out of the position we are in. No-one wants to get relegated, I’ve been relegated and it’s not nice. The club has been through so much to get where they are and to go down wouldn’t be great.”
However, Tom also knows what it takes to achieve the near impossible. As a promising teenager at Crystal Palace he was part of a squad that not only beat the drop, but went on to achieve promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs. That came after Iain Dowie took over the reins at a crucial stage of the season, in December of 2004.
Scott began his journey into the game at Charlton Athletic a few years later, but echoed his team mate’s desire for the Dons to retain our status at the end of this season.
“We need to stick together – I think that’s the main thing,” said Scott. “We need to make sure we’re all working in the same direction and we show the fans that we are working hard to make things right, which I think we are trying to do. We need to turn those losses into at least a point minimum. We need to start doing that as soon as possible.”
“It is different; a new manager has come in and wants to put his stamp on the team. The boys have taken to it really well. We’re trying to implement everything he’s set out in the training sessions as much as we can. Hopefully now we can take that into this weekend’s game at Wycombe and go from there.
“I think a lot of the games have been pretty tight. It’s about cutting down on mistakes and taking our chances when we’re on top. We haven’t been battered in games, we’ve been losing by small margins and we need to make sure we cut down on that and nick points when we can.”
“We need to work on both boxes,” added Tom. “We’ve tightened up on set-pieces and even attacking, the boys have been putting in some great balls and we need some more goals. Like ‘Waggy’ has mentioned, it’s just about small margins and the new staff that have come in have helped us with that and hopefully we’ll keep that going.
“We’ve seen it before, we’ve been coming in on a Christmas Day for quite a few years,” said Scott. “It’s one of those things where you are in normally before the Friday of a game, so it’s no different for us. We get on with it and the most important thing will be the game on Boxing Day. We’ve got to make sure we do everything in preparation for that game and it’s no different Christmas Day.”
“When you are in the situation we are in, it’s a case of the more games, the better,” added Tom. “You put one to bed and move on to the next one. Hopefully we get on a good run and start flying up the table.”
The full interview with Tom Soares and Scott Wagstaff, ahead of tomorrow’s match at Wycombe Wanderers, is available on our iFollow Dons video platform.