Having come through the ranks and been a part of Wimbledon teams that have defied expectations, Toby Sibbick is determined to help complete the job of keeping the club in League One.
The 19-year-old right-back starred in FA Youth Cup runs from the recent past, including helping our youngsters to knock out Watford and Newcastle. Of course, this season included the highlight of a late scoring cameo at first-team level, as The Dons dumped Premier League West Ham out of the FA Cup. Since that match, Toby has been a virtual ever-present, making 26 first-team appearances in total to help Wimbledon stage a rally to beat the drop, and he is looking forward to the match at Oxford on Saturday.
“Earlier in the season I was hoping to play 15 games minimum, but now I’ve exceeded that. Hopefully, I can keep my place until the end of the season and hit 30 games. “Since we were scholars Mark Robinson installed in us about the hard work of everyone at the club. The fans are the ones who have got us this far with the help of the players. We are always underdogs. We faced that in the FA Youth Cup and in some rounds of the FA Cup this season.
“I’ve never been there (to Oxford’s ground) so it’s going to be my first time of playing there. I am definitely looking forward to it. They are on a good run of form, but so are we. Hopefully, we can upset them and get the win because we need a big three points. We take it one game at a time. We don’t focus on any other teams, we only focus on ourselves. If we keep winning it puts pressure on the teams below and above us. If we win on Saturday it would be a massive three points for us.”
Toby is grateful to the club for giving him an opportunity at the age of 15 when he was plucked from the Conquest Football Academy in Isleworth. He believes it helps a lot to play alongside fellow academy graduates Paul Kalambayi, Will Nightingale, and Anthony Hartigan.
“On the pitch when we had the run of three or four clean sheets you could tell that the chemistry was there between us because we’ve played with each other coming through the ranks. I think that’s good. Will has been in the first-team squad for a long time as well so that’s given me the confidence to come in because he’s always talking to us.
“The physical side of it is massive in first-team football. At Under-23s you sort of get that experience, at Under-18s not as much. In my first full season of men’s football I found it tough at the start, but now I think I’m thriving.
“I am grateful to the club and to my agent because he gave me the opportunity to play against AFC Wimbledon when I was at the Conquest Football Academy. Then I got picked up and Robbo gave me a scholarship. Now I’m just continuing to work hard. I was more of a centre-back, but in my second year Robbo played me at wing-back more often than right-back. In the FA Youth Cup I knocked a few goals in. I played for the Under-23s at right-back as well because there was only really Barry Fuller in that position. After he left I could see that there was a real opportunity for me.”
The full interview with Toby is available to watch by clicking on the link to our iFollow channel above.