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Team news: Soares fit as Wimbledon aim to finish the season unbeaten

Midfielder in contention to face former club as campaign comes to an end

4 May 2018

By Rob Cornell

Harry Forrester is doubtful for tomorrow’s final game of the season against Bury, but midfield colleague Tom Soares may return to face his former club.

“There’s a couple missing,” said Neal Ardley in an interview with our iFollow Dons channel. “Harry Forrester is struggling from the other day, but Tom Soares (pictured) is back though. It looks like he’s fit. With a bit of luck we’ll be able to finish the season on a high.

“We’ll try and be as strong as we can. There might be one or two changes. I think there’s a fair few of the boys that want to and deserve to play in the last game of the season. I’ve just got to be careful as they’ve run themselves into the ground. I think we’ll be very strong and competitive.

Although the Dons clinched another season in Sky Bet League One with a 0-0 draw at Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night, there still remains plenty of motivation within the squad to stretch an unbeaten run to seven games in front of a full house.

“We don’t want to go into our player of the year awards on the back of a defeat and if possible we want to finish the season unbeaten and try and start the following season the same. We’ll give it our best.

“The main priority was to get that point, so that Saturday became an occasion to look forward to and not fear or dread. The pitch at Doncaster was in really poor condition. It probably contributed to one of the worst games of football that I’ve seen all season, but it was job done.

“The boys worked incredibly hard and there was a real momentum about them and you just listened to them talk and you could see it in their eyes, when we got on this run, just saying: ‘we’re not taking this team down’. The pride in that was evident and we should be very proud of them,” said Neal.

Spirits remained high among the squad as they trained at the Cherry Red Records Stadium this afternoon, ahead of the game against relegated Bury.

“There was a great atmosphere out there, but there is actually a reason behind it as we’re having our training ground pitch stripped and having some work done on it. It’s struggled a bit this season with the weather we’ve had and we’ve got an opportunity to get started on it. The grounds staff here have been brilliant and they’ve let us come on and have a light, fun, lively training session on the pitch and the boys are in really good spirits.

Tomorrow’s visitors beat Wimbledon 2-1 when the two sides met at the start of February. Liam Trotter scored against the Shakers, who ultimately failed to beat the drop. Bury did beat Portsmouth 1-0 in their last game though and drew with play-off contenders Shrewsbury, as well as Doncaster, before that.

“Ryan Lowe had only just got the job when we played them up there in a re-arranged game," said Neal. "They battered us, probably for the first 25 minutes, more than other teams have. They’ve got some good players and I know he’s given some of the younger ones a bit more of a chance lately. They’ve had a bit of a clear out. They are three games unbeaten and I think that everyone has got that professional pride to finish on a high.”

The full interview with Neal Ardley is available to subscribers of our premium iFollow Dons service.

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