Having experienced cup magic during his playing days and as a manager, Wally Downes has urged his squad to grasp the chance to make progress in the Carabao Cup.
AFC Wimbledon’s home match on Tuesday night offers the incentive of reaching the second round and a chance to be paired with a Premier League club. Of course, Wally guided us to that memorable victory against West Ham last season in the FA Cup and in 1983 he helped Wimbledon to cause an upset in the League Cup versus Nottingham Forest, a club that had won the European Cup just three years earlier.
Speaking ahead of the game on Tuesday, Wally said: “It’s a cup game so it will be ferocious and you win it on the night. I certainly won’t be encouraging us to be any more enthusiastic than I would expect us to be in any other game. There’s obviously some history between the clubs and the two clubs have drawn each other in lots of cup games. It’s a game we are desperate to win so that we can move on into the next round.
“Our fans were so vociferous last season, so behind us, in helping us to do what we did. I think that in our last home game we didn’t give them much in the first-half. If we can all get together and we start well in the first-half and they are vociferous, it will add to an all-round better performance on the night.
“With the talk I just gave to the boys I showed my age a little bit because when I was playing you only had two chances to get to Wembley, but now they have four chances to get there. If you are a pro for 10 years that’s 40 opportunities to play at the best stadium in the world and have the best day of your life so I want to give them the best opportunity to do that. We definitely want to win all of the cup games.”
The first round Carabao Cup tie will come too soon for both Nathan Trott (groin) and Anthony Wordsworth (Achilles tendon), though both are making progress, and Will Nightingale (knee) was due to have a scan today.
“We are waiting for the results of Will’s scan and Woody will be out doing a bit of running tomorrow,” said Wally. “We rested Nathan a little bit when we were liaising with West Ham about his fitness. He didn’t really do anything from just prior to the Crystal Palace match, so he needs to do a little bit more.
“We had a full squad out there today. They were not as bright and sharp as they could be as it was a second day recovery, but they all did the work that they needed to do and hit the stats required.”
Take a look below at Rob Cornell's full interview with Wally.