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Preview: Wally praises support ahead of vital season finale

Dons head for Bradford aiming to seal League One survival

3 May 2019

AFC Wimbledon’s players will be aiming for a victory to guarantee survival at Bradford City on Saturday and the team will be roared on by a bumper travelling support.

Six supporters’ coaches will be bound for West Yorkshire on Saturday and Wally Downes fully appreciates the support with over 1,700 tickets already sold in advance for the crucial season finale.

The Dons head for Bradford unbeaten in six matches and buoyed by that vital victory against Wycombe Wanderers, but Saturday’s opponents have earned four points from the last six to restore pride after their relegation was confirmed. Depending upon other results, a draw at Bradford could be enough for Wimbledon to stay up, but a win would make it mathematically certain.

The match will have special significance for our striker James Hanson, who returns to his hometown club, where he enjoyed a very successful spell as a player.

Wally’s boys will be seeking to end the season by extending an impressive sequence of results on the road. Come On You Dons!

Below are quotes from both managers, stats, and a recap of previous battles.  

Wally Downes

“I hope we can give the fans a positive result, but that’s a phenomenal effort. If we can get near that 2,000 mark, it will be brilliant. We’ve reconnected with them and there’s a feel-good factor all around the place. I was in a restaurant yesterday having lunch and four fans came up to me and said they were pleased with what is going on. They joined our table and we had a good 10-minute chat. It was terrific.

“They (Bradford) are playing with a bit of freedom now. I know there is a bit of a burden on teams that are down there, but when they know their fate that burden can be lifted off their shoulders. We need to prepare properly so that we go out and do our jobs. It’s pointless me playing it down or hyping it up. Everyone knows what’s required. Everyone knows all the permutations, except me, so we are just going up there to try and win the next game.”

Gary Bowyer

"It doesn’t surprise me, with Wally Downes and Glyn Hodges going in there, that they have turned it around. It is a great example of what can be achieved with a collective spirit and a collective belief.

“It hasn’t come into our preparations, in regards to how the fans feel about him (James Hanson). I understand the feelings the supporters have about him but we have specific targets for all the Wimbledon players, not just someone who the fans have an affinity towards.”

Team News

For Wimbledon, Rod McDonald is back in the reckoning after shaking off a groin injury, but Scott Wagstaff is ruled out due to a calf injury. Bradford hope to have Billy Clarke back after injury, but Adam Chicksen, David Ball and Hope Akpan are ruled out.

Previous meetings

AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Bradford City (2 October 2018)

The Dons slipped to a fourth successive defeat with a penalty just before the break from Jack Payne enough to win it for the visitors. Wimbledon came closest to an equaliser through Jake Jervis early in the second-half, but his effort was cleared off the line by Anthony O’Connor.

Bradford City 0-4 AFC Wimbledon (27 January 2018)

A cracking strike from Jimmy Abdou broke the deadlock, before Andy Barcham made it 2-0, and Cody McDonald’s double made it a superb away day for Wimbledon. Click on the link below to watch the highlights.

AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Bradford City (23 December 2017)

Cody McDonald scored the opener in just the seventh minute to put Wimbledon in charge, but Bradford equalised just after the break through Paul Taylor. However, The Dons bounced back from that setback to plunder victory through a goal from Lyle Taylor.

Bradford Memorial Arrangements

Bradford City and AFC Wimbledon will come together on Saturday to pay tribute to the 56 supporters who tragically lost their lives in the 1985 Valley Parade Fire Disaster.

A minute’s silence will be held prior to kick-off as we remember those who sadly passed away almost 34 years ago in this disaster.

Both the Bradford City captain and our captain will carry wreaths onto the pitch, that will be placed behind each goal after the minute’s silence. These two wreaths will be later moved to the Main Stand Memorial after the game.

The Dons Trust have also donated a wreath that will be placed at the Main Stand Memorial between 3.30 pm and 4.00 pm prior to the game.

For any Dons that can, please donate to the bucket collections for the PSBRU (Bradford Burns Unit) that will be operating in the away stands this Saturday. The PSRBU was established following the fire and aims to improve the delivery of healthcare to any patient with similar or related injuries to those suffered on that fateful day.

Last time out

AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers

Scunthorpe 2-3 Bradford City

Form Guide

Bradford City WDLLLL

AFC Wimbledon WDDDDW

Tickets

Tickets are available to buy online until Friday afternoon (Adult tickets are £5 more expensive on match day)

Buy Bradford Tickets >> (book before 2.30 pm on Friday 3 May)

Dons fans will be seated in the Northern Commercials Stand (on Midland Road) and the TL Dallas Stand (on Holywell Ash Lane). Advance ticket prices for the match are as follows:

Adults - £20

Over60s /Student - £15

Under-16s - £10

Under-11s - £5

For information about disabled tickets, please contact the club on 020 8547 3528.

Ticket Collection

Match tickets have been posted to fans that ordered their tickets online before 2.00 pm on Wednesday 1 May. For Dons who ordered their tickets after this deadline, your tickets will be available to collect on the day from the Players’ Entrance at the Northern Commercials Stadium. Please allow plenty of time to collect your tickets and enter the ground.

Buying on the day

Please note that there will be a limited amount of tickets available on the day. These will be sold from the away turnstiles on a first come first served basis (cash only). We recommend any Dons buying a ticket on the day to do so in good time before the scheduled 5.30 pm kick-off.

Visiting Fan Guide

A Visitors' Guide to the Northern Commercials Stadium for away supporters can be found on www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk .

Match Day Coverage

We will not be screening this game at our ground. However, if you are a UK & Ireland based iFollow ‘monthly pass’ subscriber you can listen to the Radio WDON commentary team from 17.30 this Saturday. Find out more about subscribing to iFollow.

Overseas Dons can stream the game live, visit the iFollow page for more info.

All Dons can also follow all The Dons match day action on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Get behind Wally's boys any way you can and make some noise for The Dons!


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