Wally Downes today talked passionately about building on last season’s strong finish – and he said that our supporters can play a big part in pushing Wimbledon forward.
Speaking ahead of the big kick-off against Rotherham on Saturday, our manager said: “We couldn’t have done last year what we did without the fans on board. Certainly, with the build-up to the new stadium, we want the fans with us all of the way. The fans have seen the fight and the performances that the players can put in when they are with us. It’s the players’ responsibility to entertain the fans and play winning football. If we can’t win, we will die trying. As long as they see that effort, I know the fans will be behind us. With the fans behind us, who knows what we can achieve?”
Of course, Wally starts a new season as AFC Wimbledon manager for the first time after being appointed last December – and he’s extremely proud to be leading us into 2019/20.
“It’s terrific, everyone knows my allegiance to the club,” added Wally. “To be able to start with a blank sheet so to speak is great, especially with the stadium on the horizon for us. I like working day to day with the players. I don’t like the bit when I have to drop them or not select them when they’ve worked hard for me on the training ground. That’s never easy, but you need to have difficult conversations with them sometimes. As long as they know I’m only doing it for the good of the team and they are prepared to support everyone that’s in the team then it’s not a problem, but there’s certainly lots of aspects of management that I don’t enjoy.”
Wally also provided the latest team news from the training ground today. Anthony Wordsworth (achilles tendon) and Adam Roscrow, who is recovering from a groin strain, are both ruled out.
“The challenge was to have everyone fit for selection at the start of the season and we’ve been unlucky because there’s only Anthony Wordsworth who hasn’t made it,” added Wally. “For Anthony, it’s just an aggravation of an old injury, but we’ve got through it without any pulled muscles or impact injuries. Woody has had an ongoing achilles injury. He came back at the start of pre-season and it just had to be managed. We just tried to get him as fit as we could, but it just flared up a bit when we were in Spain. We are managing that and we don’t want him to come rushing back for this game or the next game and lose him for a longer period. We are prepared to wait for him to be 100 per cent.
“With Adam, it’s difficult when you come out of playing non league and go into full-time training. There are going to be knocks and pressures on the body that haven’t been there before. Adam had a tight groin about four or five days ago and we decided to let him get through that. He is keen to be a part of the group so you have to put the reins on him. Nesta has also come from non league, but he has had the whole summer to get used to it.”
Take a look below at the full interview with Wally ahead of the new campaign.