By Rob Cornell
Darius Charles will again give his all for the Dons as they bid to pull off an FA Cup shock on Sunday, but it won't beat the feeling of victory over Plymouth at Wembley in 2016 for the centre-back.
“Win, lose or draw against Tottenham on the weekend – you can’t beat winning a play-off final,” said Darius in an interview to our premium iFollow Dons subscription channel. “It’s just a feeling where nothing else equals it."
A clip of our chat with Darius is available below, via a link to our official club YouTube channel.
“For me personally I look forward to the game, but I’m a United fan, so (Manchester) United away would have been fantastic for me!” added Darius with a smile. “I’m fortunate to have already played at Wembley, in the Play-off final.”
However this Sunday’s occasion against the North Londoners, who have won the competition eight times in their illustrious history, isn’t lost on the centre-back.
“It’s the beauty of the FA Cup. Every year you get the chance to pit yourself against better opposition and see where you are compared to that, hopefully be the underdog and turn over the big team. Someone has to do it each year and hopefully it can be us. It was Lincoln last season, who knows who it could be this year? It could be AFC Wimbledon.
“Obviously it’s going to be a fantastic occasion for everyone involved – players, fans and staff alike – so we make sure we go out there and give a good account of ourselves and enjoy the day.”
While the make-up of the Spurs side remains the subject of speculation, the Dons defender backs his own team-mates to give the Premier League giants a game - if they play at their very best.
“One thing that bodes really well for us, regardless of opposition, we know the calibre of player we have in our arsenal that can go and hurt teams,” said Darius.
“Harry Forrester and Lyle Taylor, on their day, can give any defence a run for their money. With players like that in your team, it does give you good confidence knowing that regardless of whether you concede or not – we’ve got goals in our side.
“We’ve had a couple of days off, so we’ve had a chance to rest and recover and put some good, intense work into our training leading up to this game.
Darius politely declined interest from Grenada for an international call-up this season and his commitment to the Dons cause has made him a fans favourite.
“As and when the time comes that you leave a club, I personally like to look back and think – ‘Was I for the betterment of the club?’
“My time here has been productive so far, so it’s nice to be able to give that to the fans – give them a promotion, be here while the planning for the new stadium is approved and two trips to Wembley. You look at that and feel - ‘I can be proud of what I have done so far at the club.’
The full interview with AFC Wimbledon’s Darius Charles is available on our iFollow Dons channel, along with the pre-match thoughts of manager Neal Ardley and left-back Callum Kennedy.