Joe Pigott is aiming to hit the ground running once again after his prolific 2018/19 campaign and he believes that Wimbledon can build on the feel-good factor generated by the Great Escape.
Our top scorer from last season struck 18 goals in total, including plenty of vital strikes during the run-in, to help Wimbledon stay up. However, after recharging his batteries with a holiday in Australia, Joe is already focusing on the challenge of helping The Dons to push forward – and to avoid another League One relegation battle.
Speaking about Wimbledon’s survival in the division, Joe said: “It was such a great feat what we achieved – to stay up against the odds – and I haven’t really got over it now, to be honest! We now need to carry all that momentum into next season. It was a huge achievement, considering the position we were in. I am just glad that we did it and to be involved in keeping the club up in those circumstances was amazing for me and the supporters. The fans were immense at Bradford and they played a real part in keeping us up.
“I don’t want to be in another relegation battle, I’ve been involved in those situations for the last few seasons. I was happy to play a part in keeping the club up after I first joined from Maidstone, but last season was more of a struggle to stay up. Hopefully, we can be challenging for the top half of the table. If we can put together a run of form like we did at the end of last season, anything could be possible. We became solid at the back in the latter stages of the season and that was a big factor in us staying up.
“We had a very young squad with some players coming in last season for their first full seasons. They did very well in adapting to the situation we were in, without too much experience of men’s football. The young players did brilliantly to help us stay up.”
Asked for his favourite game of last season, Joe was quick to point to Wimbledon's victory in the penultimate match of the season against Wycombe - a 2-1 win that proved to be crucial in retaining our League One status. However, he found it more difficult to choose his favourite goal of 2018/19, the striker unable to separate his soaring header in the Carabao Cup against West Ham and a lovely opening goal versus Bristol Rovers.
Since joining Wimbledon in January 2018, Joe has struck 23 goals so far, improving his all-round game after a spell in non league with Maidstone United. However, at the age of just 25, he believes that he has plenty of room for improvement.
“I worked really hard in pre-season last year and I started the season well by getting among the goals quickly. Hopefully, I can replicate that this year. I was happy with my goals return, considering I had a spell out during the season through injury. To get 20 goals is a great milestone for any striker and I got pretty close to that, so I was pretty happy with last season.
“I think I’ve got loads more improvement to come. I’ve improved a lot in the short space of time that I’ve been at the club already. I knew I was capable of that and I still think I’ve got plenty more to come.
“I’ve been keeping myself ticking over. I rested the first two weeks, but I’ve been doing bits and pieces of fitness work since. I’ve been getting out on a few runs! I’m looking forward to the start of pre-season now.
“Everyone needs a break, no matter who you are. It’s always good to have a break for a few weeks, but soon we will all be gearing up for the new season.”