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Hanson eager to make up for lost time by boosting survival bid

Interview with fit-again Wimbledon striker

11 December 2018

James Hanson made his first league start for five weeks on Saturday and he’s determined to make up for lost time by boosting AFC Wimbledon’s survival bid.

The experienced target man was last week referred to in glowing terms by our new manager Wally Downes, who believes Hanson can make a big difference in the battle to stay up.

It's a responsibility that the striker is keen to thrive upon after a season interrupted by a recent injury, which came at a time when he was starting to hit top form.

"It's going to help my game massively, said Hanson. "The manager said that he wants to play through me quite a bit, which is going to help me if we can get the ball up the pitch or out wide, because attacking crosses is where I feel I'm at my best. I'm looking forward to working with the manager and the main thing for me is to keep fit. It's been frustrating this season for me, a bit stop- and start, but now I want to keep fit and keep working on the training pitch.

"We were probably unlucky not to win the game on Saturday, if you look at the chances we had. In the first-half we stood off them a little bit, we tried to keep a compact shape so that we were hard to break down. We got caught by a ball in behind and ultimately that was probably the only shot they had in the first-half, even though they had a lot of possession. It made us come out in the second-half and show a bit of fighting spirit, as well as to press them higher up the pitch. We created a lot of chances and there was a penalty incident that maybe could have been given as well. I thought we were unlucky not to win the game."

Next up for Wimbledon is a South London derby at Charlton Athletic and Hanson added that the Dons will need to show all of the battling qualities in evidence on Saturday in the battle to stay up.

"We know that Wally is a legend here so we knew that the fans were going to give him a good welcome on Saturday," said Hanson. We wanted to make sure that we gave him as good a start as we could. The first-half was not ideal, but I thought in the second-half we showed great character to come back and get a point. I thought we were unlucky not to get the win.

"I felt all right. I was a bit tired in the last 15 minutes, but I got through some running, and that will hold me in good stead for next week for training and taking on Charlton. All you can do when you're injured is work as hard as you can to maintain a good level of fitness, so that you're not miles behind when you come back.

"I think it's just the togetherness, we have to be all in it together. We could easily have folded today, but we came back and showed fighting spirit. That point might be valuable at the end of the season. We just have to stay positive and take one game at a time, like Wally has said. The ultimate aim is survival."

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