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Neal: We have to focus on ourselves

Preview of Wimbledon's match at Shrewsbury on Saturday

23 March 2018

Neal Ardley believes that Paul Hurst has done an 'incredible' job to put together a squad challenging for the League One title, but he said that the Dons cannot focus too much on their strengths.

Four points from the last possible six have offered encouragement to Wimbledon's squad heading into the final nine games of 2017/18, but Neal knows that his players will have to be at their best to come away from Shrewsbury with a result on Saturday.

Below are quotes from both managers, plus stats, and other key information ahead of the game.

Neal Ardley

"We have to focus on ourselves, to do what the best thing is for us. Bass and myself went to Northampton on Tuesday to watch Shrewsbury and they are a very good team: powerful, fit, and very strong. They have lost Ben Godfrey, who has been outstanding in midfield, and they lost their captain on Tuesday, which will be a blow to them. From our point of view, it might alter things. I don't know if they have got the midfielders to keep the same shape that they've been playing with, but we need to focus on ourselves. They've got too many good players playing well. We are going to have to be at our best to get anything out of the game.

"People say in the last 10 games of the season that it is not about performances, it's about results. In the last two games, we've probably not been as good as we can be in our play, but we've shown a lot of resilience in our defending and a lot of character. We came away with four points and last week we got a really important point because we were up against it for large spells. If we can keep picking up points, then the performances will not be as much of an issue."

"In this league on any given day, anyone can beat anyone, but Shrewsbury are on 70-odd points for a reason. They showed great character coming back against Scunthorpe and the same against Northampton. For me, they have the outstanding manager for the year, he thoroughly deserves to be that, and he will get my vote. What he has done has been incredible and in Jon Nolan they have one of the best midfielders in the league, but I cannot wax lyrical about all their players, as you can go right through the team. What we need to do is collectively play well, we cannot have one, two, or three players off their game. If we do, there will only be one outcome.

Paul Hurst

"I think they've changed system a little bit of late, so it's not the easiest one to plan for. They are on a similar par to ourselves in terms of resources available to them financially, so I think Neal Ardley's done a good job there, but they will still want some more points to make sure that they have another season in League One.

"The line-up's changed quite a lot there because of injuries, so I'm not entirely sure of how they will set-up or who the personnel will be, so we've got to concentrate on that, but the players will be aware of people like Lyle Taylor in their side, who is a threat.

"I think that as you move towards the end of the season more results that are unexpected occur. The other night we obviously wanted to win the game but performance wise I was pleased enough and going into Saturday, we might not be as fluent, but I still think we are capable of getting that result."

Team News

Darius Charles has returned to full training after a hip injury and his fitness was due to be assessed ahead of the game. Cody McDonald is ruled out with a metatarsal injury that could keep him out for the rest of this season, but Saturday may come too soon for new signing Lloyd Sam.

Shrewsbury will be without key players Dean Henderson (international duty), James Bolton, Ben Godfrey (both injured) and Abu Ogogo (suspended).

Last time out

Rochdale 1-1 AFC Wimbledon

Northampton 1-1 Shrewsbury

Last meeting

AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Shrewsbury (12 August 2017)

Previous visit

Shrewsbury 2-1 AFC Wimbledon (19 February 2017)

Andy Barcham's strike from outside the box appeared to have earned a hard-fought point for Wimbledon, but a 90th minute header from Aristote Nsiala won it for Shrewsbury. Watch the highlights below.

Form guide (last six in all competitions)

Shrewsbury DWWWWD

AFC Wimbledon DWLDWL

Tickets

This is not an all-ticket match, but please note that it's cash only payments for away supporters buying on the day. We've been asked to point out by Shrewsbury FC that there is no card machine at the away end and no cash machines in or near the stadium.

Wimbledon supporters will be accommodated in the Pro Vision North Stand at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Ticket prices are as follows for this game (no price increases on the day): Adult £20, Over 65s £15, Disabled £15, Student (NUS card) £15, Young Adult (19-21 years) £15, Juniors (12-18 years) £8, Juniors (8-11 years) £6, Juniors (Under-8s) free.

Wimbledon supporters who have booked tickets in advance can collect them pre-match from the main ticket office at Shrewsbury.

iFollow

Domestic subscribers can listen to commentary of the game from our WDON team, via our iFollow subscription channel. Fans abroad can watch a live stream of the game via this channel. Interviews with Neal Ardley and Harry Forrester, ahead of the game, can also be viewed on iFollow.


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