Tom Soares has good memories of reaching Wembley seven years ago and he’s determined to play a part in ensuring that Wimbledon’s FA Cup dreams extend beyond tonight.
The Dons midfielder is preparing for the challenge at Bostik League Premier Division side Haringey Borough, but in 2011 he was part of the Stoke City squad that got to the final at Wembley.
“We’ve got to be on it from the get-go,” said Tom of the clash at Coles Lane against non-league Haringey. “We know what we’ve got to go out there and do. No disrespect to them, but it is their ‘Cup Final’.
“We were in a similar situation to them when we played Tottenham at Wembley last season, it was like a final. As the underdogs you go out there and give everything, but we’ve got to match that and better it.
“When I was at Stoke City, we got to the final. We played against Manchester City and it didn’t quite go according to plan,” said Tom reflecting on a 1-0 defeat. “It was a great experience. We beat Bolton 5-0 in the semi and that was a good day out and a good memory.”
The Dons head into the tie having recorded a 4-0 victory over Stevenage in the Checkatrade Trophy in midweek. Tom believes it has gone some way towards generating a renewed team spirit amongst the squad.
“We want to win every game we go into,” said Tom. “We had a great result on Tuesday, which is good for the team, the squad and the fans in getting back to winning ways. We’re going to go into this game with a winning mentality, look to progress in the competition and take that form back to the league.
“It’s down to the boys on the pitch and it’s not been good enough. We’ve had a lot of meetings amongst the players and the staff and we need to do more – showing we’re all in this together and we’ll get through it together.
“It’s a great club to be at – the staff, the boys and the fans. Everything the club stands for and has been through is massive. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to the team. We’re going to do everything we can to get ourselves out of the position we’re in, in the league.
“We want the fans to come and do what they do – be loud and proud. We need that support and hopefully we do it on the pitch for them and give them something to cheer about.”
The full interview with Tom Soares is available on our iFollow Dons video platform, along with the pre-match thoughts of manager Neal Ardley, ahead of the FA Cup tie at Haringey Borough.