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Wally seeks competitive edge as Dons gear up for Palace test

Our manager's thoughts ahead of match against his old club

29 July 2019

Wally Downes said that Anthony Wordsworth may not be risked for Tuesday night’s test against Premier League club Crystal Palace (7.45 pm kick-off at the Cherry Red Records Stadium).

Midfielder Wordsworth has missed the last two games due to an Achilles tendon injury and our manager is assessing whether to give him game-time tomorrow night.

“We might get 45 minutes out of Anthony, but we were hoping to get through pre-season with everybody available for selection for the first game,” said Wally. “If he doesn’t play a period tomorrow night then the boys are telling me he will would be ready to play some part on Saturday, which was all that I’d asked them for. Archie (Procter) got a bit of a whack on Saturday, but he seems to be fine as well. It’s all good and we have a 100 per cent record. If we can get through the next four days without injuries then I’m happy with what we’ve got.”

Our manager was pleased with the competitive nature of Saturday’s game and he is looking for more of the same on Tuesday as Wimbledon gear up for the start of 2019/20 against Rotherham. In particular, Wally wants his players to be giving particular focus to set-pieces at both ends of the pitch.

“The pre-season games you play against other league teams are not as competitive as you are trying to get fit and stave off injuries,” said Wally. “Even when we were abroad and they had challenges there I was saying to the boys, ‘don’t be silly, it’s not life or death’. You take away the intensity, but the last two games, certainly the Hampton match, was similar to what we are going to be playing. It was a full-blooded game and they played their part in it. That’s worked out great that we had that good test, just a week before the season starts.

“If you look at all the games that happen in the Premier League and in World Cups, and European Cups, set pieces are a big part of all matches. We have to make sure we are on top of them. We do a plus and a minus thing and I’ve said to the players that if the plus side is higher we should be on our way to being successful.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we play our game (on Tuesday night). It’s the same for both sides in that if you play good football it helps you, but it’s about playing good football in the right areas. If we can manage to keep the ball in their half for as long as we can, then that’s the time to play football. You don’t get any points for playing 10 passes in your own half. We want to play in the opposition’s half as often as we can.”

As a former Crystal Palace coach and Wimbledon player, Wally has a lot of memories from previous clashes between the two clubs.

“I have great memories,” said Wally. “We went over there and won 5-0 once, I think ‘Fish’ (Paul Fishenden) got a hat-trick. I think I was involved in the last ever game at Plough Lane, Wimbledon versus Palace and I was at Crystal Palace as coach back then. Palace beat Wimbledon that day. I’ve got great memories from my time at Palace, but also from beating them when I was playing. I’m not sure what our record was like against them, but that 5-0 match sticks in the memory. Palace had a good team when I was coming through as a player and they were a few levels above us at that stage.”

You can buy in advance for Tuesday’s game by visiting our online ticket shop or you can pay on the night.

Ticket prices are as follows:

Unallocated seating in Paul Strank Stand              

Adult - £20

Concession - £15

U18s - £8

Chemflow Terrace

Adult - £15

Concession - £10

U18s - £4

Click on the link below to watch Wally’s full interview ahead of the Palace game.

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