Wally Downes has promised supporters that AFC Wimbledon will be giving everything in pursuit of a landmark FA Cup win at Fleetwood on Saturday.
Victory at the Highbury Stadium would book Wimbledon's place in the fourth round for the first time since reformation back in 2002.
“You can’t say it’s just another game,” said Wally in his pre-match interview with our premium iFollow Dons subscription channel. “It’s a match that’s come quickly after the Portsmouth game, where we played well, so the boys are looking forward to playing there. They’ll be looking to carry on with a performance like that, but change the result. If we change the result we’ll be in the hat on Saturday night, which is the most important thing.
“We’ll make sure we’ll put on a performance for any of our fans who come up there. We’ve certainly got to put in a performance, because the rewards are very high. The supporters may have wanted Tottenham or Arsenal in the draw, but there’s a great chance of getting them if we progress through this round. We’ll be playing at our maximum to get a result.
“I had Joey (Barton) as a player at QPR and he’s got some strong opinions on how he thinks the game should be played. It’s terrific that he’s taken his first step into management at Fleetwood. I am sure his aim is a lot higher. To cut your teeth and learn your trade at a lower league club shows a great mentality and I’m sure he’ll be successful, but hopefully not on Saturday!”
Wally provided a detailed injury update on the progress of some of the members of his squad, but this Saturday’s tie will come too soon for a few key players.
“Deji Oshilaja is very close,” said Wally. “Whether he is close enough, I don’t know. If Deji doesn’t make this game, then he’s definitely ready for next week. It’s touch and go. Joe Pigott is not ready yet. He’ll be another week or so.
“Rod McDonald has been out running all week. He’s fine and should be looking to comeback training with the squad in the middle part of next week. Tom Soares is a day-by-day thing. He tweaked his back last week in bed and it’ll be a couple of days before its okay again. He’s not ready yet.
“Egli Kaja (having returned from a loan spell with Livingston) is in the reckoning. We’ll decide on the final numbers today, but everyone has come in prepared to travel.”
Wally missed out on lifting the FA Cup as a player with Wimbledon back in 1988, having helped play a part in guiding the Dons from the old fourth to the first division during the 1980s. He’s well aware though of what the FA Cup means and his experiences of the competition certainly became more favourable after a day to forget against Enfield.
“The cup has special magic for everyone, but my memory is getting beaten at Enfield when we had a team of kids out,” said Wally. “We got beaten by a team of cab drivers, airport workers and solid amateur players. It was a good lesson for us. We had a lot of young players out there, we were a very young side and it was a case of men against boys. It taught us a lesson, that’s for sure!”
Watch Wally's full update ahead of Fleetwood by clicking on the link above.