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Wally: It’s good to get the players away

Manager's pre-season update ahead of match at Wexford

27 June 2019

AFC Wimbledon’s first-team squad will be on their way to Wexford on Friday for a pre-season fixture and Wally Downes has spoken about the importance of the trip to Ireland.

The match at Ferrycarrig Park on Saturday (2.00 pm kick-off) against the League of Ireland First Division side will be one occasion when our manager is not too concerned about the result. However, Wally believes it’s an important weekend away for other reasons.

“It’s good to get everyone together, take them away, and out of this environment,” said Wally. “Stephen Hunt, who is a player I worked with at Crystal Palace, Brentford, and Reading, suggested that we make the trip, and he’s worked very hard to get us over there. We spend nine months here and although it’s a great life being a footballer, it can still be a grind. It’s still a job in the middle of January and February when it’s muddy and it’s wet, so you have to make the most of times like this when you can take the players out of the usual environment. You get to find out who the leaders are, see who the funny ones are, and you establish an order within the group. It’s more of a get-together and a bonding trip than it is a really serious football match.

“We are taking one or two trialists out there, but the result is largely unimportant because Wexford’s first-team are playing on the Friday night, so it will be a mixture of their side. We’ve only been back four or five days, so it’s a chance for the boys to stretch their legs. It will be slightly competitive, but there will be no silly challenges, and we don’t want to get too involved in the emotional side of winning the game, but we want the players to blow away the cobwebs and enjoy the trip over there.”

Click on the link below to watch the full video interview with Wally, who also talks about his plans to take AFC Wimbledon forward next season and on his search for new talent.

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