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Preview: Dons seek to extend improved home form

Views from both camps and statistics ahead of Saturday's match

19 January 2018

By Rob Cornell

The Dons go into tomorrow's home match aiming to build on positive performances so far this year and Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer has praised the progress made by AFC Wimbledon.

Since the start of 2018, Neal Ardley's men have beaten Southend, performed with credit against Tottenham Hotspur, and came very close to winning at Milton Keynes.

The Dons will be aiming for a third successive home win after victories against Bradford and Southend.

During a bright start to life in League One after promotion, Gary Bowyer's men have slipped down the division, but they did pick up a point from a goalless draw last Saturday, against Bristol Rovers. Their last league win was at Lancashire rivals Rochdale, where they won 2-1 on New Year's Day.

Quotes:

Neil Cox

"Preparations have been difficult this week. We've had to train on a 4G surface, which has not been easy. We needed to play a development game this week (which was postponed) to give a few people some match fitness. Some players who are coming back from injury need games, so that was a shame. We have managed to get on the training pitch though and we've had really good sessions.

"It's going to be a difficult game, I went to Oxford two weeks ago to watch Blackpool and they played really well and they should have won the game. They had enough chances to win it, but they conceded late on. I think they've changed their formation over the last three or four weeks, so it will be interesting to see what they come here with and how they set-up."

Gary Bowyer

"Neal (Ardley) has done a wonderful job down there, with the number of years he has been involved there. He's another example for me that when there are jobs in the higher leagues, that people have not looked at him.

"The years he has gained in management and experience on limited resources, but he keeps producing teams and players that are very competitive. I watched them last week and they were unlucky not to take all three points.

"We're expecting a really tough game again, but we've got to go with the attitude, commitment and the enthusiasm, that we've shown in our away games at present. There's a lot of positives for us at this moment in time, we've just got to convert them into wins.

Team news

Wimbledon's new striker Joe Pigott is set to be in the match day squad, having joined from Maidstone United this week. Goalkeeper George Long is back in training after recovering from illness.

Midfielder Dean Parrett is not in contention for this game as he works on his match fitness. Striker Kwesi Appiah is the only long-term absentee, having had a successful operation for a troublesome hamstring injury.

Dan Agyei could make his Blackpool debut against the club where he started his career.

The former AFC Wimbledon Academy forward joined the Seasiders on loan for the rest of the season from Premier League Burnley yesterday. Agyei came on as a substitute in Walsall's 2-1 victory over the Dons at the end of November.

Meanwhile, fellow striker Kyle Vassell is back training and could be in contention for a return to the Blackpool squad, as is Andy Taylor. Curtis Tilt sees out the final match of his suspension, while Mark Cullen remains sidelined.

Form Guide

(Last six, all competitions, and most recent first):

AFC Wimbledon: DLWDLW

Blackpool: DLLWDL

Last time out

Milton Keynes 0, AFC Wimbledon 0.

Blackpool 0, Bristol Rovers 0.

Last meeting

September 2, 2017

Sky Bet League One,

Blackpool 1, AFC Wimbledon 0.

Tickets:

AFC Wimbledon will be aiming for a third successive home victory on Saturday and terrace tickets are available to cheer on the Dons.

All seat tickets are currently sold out, though returns may become available before the game. Terrace tickets are available and these can be purchased from our online ticket shop.

Commentary:

For those who cannot attend, our iFollow Dons channel is the place to keep in touch with events at the game. Our WDON team have been providing coverage of the club virtually since AFC Wimbledon reformed. Visit #iFollowDons to gain access to match coverage and full interviews with Neil Cox and Cody McDonald ahead of the game.


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