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George calls for more of the same defensive steel against Blackburn

Interview with in-form keeper after a point at Peterborough

26 February 2018

Rob Cornell

George Long believes a repeat of the battling qualities shown at Peterborough on Saturday will serve Wimbledon well in the fight to stay up.

The Dons host league leaders Blackburn tomorrow night on the back of making it four points out of six at Peterborough – just one goal conceded in those two games – and that came with a reshuffled defence in the absence of Darius Charles.

"The boys in front of me have been brilliant in putting their bodies on the line," said George. "I think Barry Fuller's second half header off the line was so important. To start the week off with a point against Peterborough was very important. We've just got to put in performances like we did on Saturday and we'll be more than all right.

"It put an end to the recent run of away defeats we'd had. It was a tough ask to come away from Peterborough with something. We just need to keep churning out these performances. We've got twelve games left and it's an accumulation – keeping picking points up where you can. We've a couple of massive games coming up."

Neal Ardley had a difficult decision to make about his central defensive partnership ahead of Saturday's 1-1 draw, when Darius Charles was ruled out with a sore hip. In the end, he chose to move his captain and right-back to partner Deji Oshilaja in the centre and, yet again, Fuller justified his manager's decision.

"Barry was different class when asked to play centre-back. He's not the biggest, but that doesn't faze him whatsoever. He wins headers, tackles and everyone knows what they get when Barry plays. For him to step in at centre-back was really important and he more than did a capable job.

"We knew we were going to be busy as a defence and as a team. It's not just the defence doing the work, it's the midfielders picking up second balls and winning the tackles and trying to limit the work I have to do. The quieter the better really! I had to make a couple of saves, but the boys have kept it quiet for me.

"All in all, we were happy with a point. In the circumstances, we probably thought we could have held on and got all three points. Considering Peterborough's form of being just outside the play-offs, it was important for us to pick points up along the way," said George.

The Sheffield United loanee kept a clean sheet when the two sides met at Ewood Park back in September, as the Dons won 1-0 with a goal from Kwesi Appiah. Lyle Taylor is set to be the main attacking threat on this occasion against Tony Mowbray's table-toppers, having notched 14 goals so far this campaign.

"Lyle is a real asset to this team and it's what he's good at. He takes his chances when under pressure and even when he had a defender bearing down on him he tucked it away.

"I thought we dominated large points of the first half and it was just lacking that last bit of quality towards the end to finish off chances, but Lyle took his chance in the second-half.

"We showed a lot of quality on Saturday. We took the lead, but we defended so well. Lyle is putting them in at the other end, so all-in-all, it was a great team shift and all of us are in it together."

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