By Chris Slavin
Captain Barry Fuller felt the full force of AFC Wimbledon battling against adversity back in 2013 and he has called on supporters to play a big part in helping the Dons to survival again.
With Fleetwood on Friday starting a run of three home games in 12 days – Wimbledon also host Scunthorpe United and Charlton Athletic – Barry knows that the players have their destiny in their own hands.
"We know how much this means to the club," said Barry, who passed the 500-mark for career appearances against Shrewsbury on Saturday. "Obviously, I was in a relegation battle myself with Barnet and we ended up going down on the last day, so it's ironic that the goal Wimbledon scored on that final day sent me down! It meant that I signed for the club and for five years I've loved every minute of my time here. It feels like home.
"We can draw encouragement from recent home games. We should always feel that we are a match for anyone at home with the atmosphere around the ground. Our fans always get behind us and I'm sure that will be the same on Friday. It's a nice, tight pitch, that we are used to playing on and we get after teams. Hopefully our home form can continue and we can pick up the results that we need. If you look at the table now every game is like a big cup final and we know we have to start earning points. Hopefully, we can produce the performances required to ensure this club is in League One next season."
In a season that has included big news for AFC Wimbledon with approval finally received for a new stadium at Plough Lane, paving the way for work to get underway, Barry is determined to maintain progress on the pitch.
"All the players know how important this club is to its fans, we get told that straight after we sign here," said Barry. "The club is going back home in the near future and our priority on the pitch is to keep us going forward. We don't want the club to be taking a backward step. This club has always gone forward since it was reformed and we will be working hard on the training pitch and in games to ensure that continues. If we do our jobs right during the rest of this season we can build and move forward again.
"At this stage of the season, it's about grinding out results. Performances are not as important now. I don't think anyone involved at this club – players, fans, and staff – will care if we play badly and still pick-up points. There may also be times when we play well, but we don't pick-up points. We just have to keep going and ensure we do enough to stay in this division."