AFC Wimbledon came so close to securing a positive result at the Stadium of Light last season and Wally Downes is looking forward to the challenge of coming away with something this time around.
Only a 67th minute strike from Aiden McGeady separated the two sides last season on Wearside, the hosts triumphing 1-0 in front of 30,000 supporters after a game when Wimbledon missed chances to at least earn a share of the spoils.
Sunderland have won their last three games heading into Saturday’s game, a 56th minute strike from former Dons loanee Charlie Wyke earning a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Rochdale last time out.
Below are quotes from both managers, team news, and more, ahead of Saturday’s game.
“They were very strong last season. They haven’t added a great deal to their squad this summer. I think they will be going with what they’ve got and we gave them a very good game up there last season. They haven’t set off at a breath neck pace, so it could be a good time to go up there and unsettle them.
“We had a review on Thursday morning (after the Ipswich game), we showed them the good bits and the bad bits. It’s always good to clear the air. I am confident that if we keep working as we have been and we keep working together the points will come.
“We need to play as well as we did on Tuesday night and we just need to see the game out better than we did. We made a couple of mistakes and we got punished for it. That’s always going to be the way and I think last season we rode our luck a little bit and we got away with it. On Tuesday, we got punished for the mistakes.”
See below for the full interview with Wally.
“They’ve had a difficult start in terms of results, but they came very, very close to achieving a good result a good venue at Ipswich in the week.
“I watched the game and I expect they’ll feel unfortunate in terms of how late they conceded both the equaliser and winning goal.
“We had tough games last season both at their place and at our stadium, and so we expect, like every time someone comes to the Stadium of Light, a tough game, but equally, we’ve lost just once in 13 months at home, which is a record to be proud of. We understand also that we’ve created a bit of momentum, and we see Saturday as an opportunity to continue that.
“We spoke about it (momentum) after the game on Tuesday and how we’ve started a little bit of momentum, and once you get some momentum going either way - whether it’s positive or negative - every time you add to it it gets a little bit stronger. The problem is when it stops to get it going again. So I think players, when they have that feeling of winning games regularly, they naturally go into games feeling better about themselves. Going into Saturday’s game on the back of three good results is encouraging.”
Wally was due to check today on captain Will Nightingale’s fitness to assess whether or not he is ready to be considered for match action. Saturday’s match will come too soon for Anthony Wordsworth. For Sunderland, Marc McNulty remains out with his hamstring injury. Ethan Robson and Duncan Watmore are still unavailable.
Last time out
Ipswich Town 2-1 AFC Wimbledon
Rochdale 1-2 Sunderland
Form guide (last five in all competitions, starting with most recent)
AFC Wimbledon LDDLL
The last meeting
Sunderland 1-0 AFC Wimbledon (1 February 2019)
The Dons were very unfortunate not to secure at least a point from last season’s visit to the Stadium of Light. In a first-half when Sunderland failed to force Aaron Ramsdale into a save, Anthony Wordsworth came close with an audacious effort from his own half that keeper Jon McLaughlin just managed to tip over the crossbar. Will Nightingale twice had good chances in the box, but he failed to hit the target on both occasions. Sunderland pressure grew in the second-half and the hosts scored what turned out to be the winner in the 67th minute. Aiden McGeady pounced after a defensive lapse from Tennai Watson, his fine strike leaving Ramsdale with no chance. With five minutes to go, Scott Wagstaff was denied by McLaughlin and the Wimbledon midfielder’s claims for a penalty after he appeared to be hauled back in the box fell on deaf ears.
Take a look below at the highlights from that game.
Wimbledon supporters will be accommodated in the North Stand (upper section) at Sunderland with the following prices:
Adults - £20
Over-65 - £17
Under-16 - £7
Dons supporters can pay on the day at the turnstiles. Unfortunately, there were issues last season for travelling Dons with supporters missing the start of the game. We therefore recommend allowing plenty of time to gain entry.