Wally Downes has spoken enthusiastically about using his coaching experience to help gain vital League One points during the run-in.
The Dons travel to Shrewsbury on Saturday with just 12 games left in the battle to stay up, but recent form in the league has been a positive with two wins in the last three. Wally also felt that only small margins prevented Wimbledon from taking something from last Saturday’s home match against promotion-chasers Charlton Athletic.
“After reviewing it, we want the players to make better decisions,” said Wally. “We had a great opportunity in the first-half and if we had made the right pass or the right decision we would have been in on goal twice in the first five minutes of the second-half. As soon as those two things didn’t happen, I thought, ‘oh dear, that’s not great’. They scored within five minutes and then the game changed, but it all depends upon those split-second decisions. If we had made one of those decisions better, we may have scored, got a free-kick or a corner, and had some sustained pressure. The game could have been different. It hinged on a couple of decisions.
“Hopefully, the players are taking on board what we are saying to them. We had to change the style of play a little bit when we first came in. Perhaps we went a little bit too direct on occasions and after five or six games we changed. Now we’re quite functional and we don’t lose the ball around our box too often. I think we are producing some good play up the pitch and we’ve just got to be a bit better with our decision-making.
“If you do lose your enthusiasm for coaching, that’s when you shouldn’t be doing it. I started coaching when I was 28, so I’ve had an accumulation of experiences. I’ve had relegations, but more promotions, fortunately enough. You must draw on all the coaching sessions that you’ve ever done, they’re locked away somewhere in your head, and it’s a matter of finding them, and relating them to what you need at the moment. Can you tweak it a little bit with the players that you have? You have to recall different sessions that you’ve done, how they appertain to the team you are playing against, and the players that you have at your disposal. You have to do that on a daily basis.
“We had a very physical day on Tuesday, I took part in the first session, but then I had to get away to watch the Under-23 game at Merstham. Glyn and Jason took the physical side of things, but I’ve seen the clips from that and they achieved everything they needed to do. Wednesday was a break day and I took the session on Thursday.
“Shrewsbury had a good little run, including two wins on the trot. It’s a game that we want to go and win. If they didn’t win last time out they would have been closer to us, but every match is a target game now for us. I’ve said there are 12 cup finals and this is one of them. We’ve got to go there and perform, form goes out of the window, and it’s a case of roll your sleeves up and win the game.”
Sam Ricketts said he will not be taking Wimbledon’s challenge lightly after watching our last away game - the dramatic 4-3 win at Rochdale.
Shrewsbury’s manager said: "It's a funny one because the perception will be Wimbledon are bottom of the table, but that's' probably because of their form at the start of the season. I went to watch them play Rochdale, and it was a really good win for them there, their performances have been very good.
"If you watched them now you certainly wouldn't put them bottom of the table, so we have to be very respectful of them still. They are good at moving the ball, they play a similar shape to us and a similar system, they're playing with some confidence because of their cup run. You don't beat West Ham if you're a bad team.
"We have to focus on ourselves and get another good performance in. We have to concentrate on us with and without the ball, if we do that then we've got a chance of making it five unbeaten. We're currently on our longest unbeaten run so far this season which shows you we're in a good place but you have to keep your foot on the pedal and keep pushing."