Will Nightingale enjoyed being reunited on Saturday with a Dons play-off hero from 2016, but he was also keen to focus on the future and the challenge of taking Wimbledon forward.
Having come on as a second-half substitute against Tonbridge Angels, our captain just missed out on facing Tom Beere, who came through our academy at the same time. The pair shared many good memories when coming through the ranks and the pinnacle for Tom came when he scored that vital winner in the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Accrington Stanley four years ago.
“It was a special night that,” said Will. ”It stands out as one of the best nights for atmosphere that I’ve experienced. Tom popped up with the goal and we wouldn’t be where we are now without him. A lot of thanks goes to Tom for that good finish.
“Tom has always been that player who stood out from the early days. He’s always got that quality and hopefully he doesn’t get another injury. He looked strong out there (on Saturday), so hopefully he can kick on now and have a bit of a free run, like myself.”
Since leaving us three years ago, Tom has endured a very testing time and facing us on Saturday was only his second game back after a lengthy injury absence.
“I was out for 15 months before my first game back last Saturday,” said Tom. “I know Will has been injured and I can honestly say that it’s the loneliest place you can be in when you are out. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Hopefully, I’ve had no reaction. I hope Will can stay fit and he can go onto bigger and better things to take the club forward.
"The gaffer (Steve McKimm) has given me everything. He let me come in to see the physio when I wasn’t getting paid. He let me train with the boys when I needed it and he has given me the support. I can’t thank the club enough. I just want to get as much football as I can, hopefully have a good season, and just see what happens after I stay injury-free.”
Our captain added that he's relishing working with Glyn and he can sense the manager’s determination to guide Wimbledon forward.
“It’s really professional,” said Will. “The gaffer knows exactly what this club is about. He knows what the fans want, but from a personal point of view he wants success himself. We can all see that he wants us to drive each other forward. We don’t want to be looking over our shoulders and we want to be taking this club forward. It’s started really positively so far, the manager has made some good signings and long may it continue.
“Ethan (Chislett) is a clever little player. I hadn’t seen too much of him, but it was a good finish (on Saturday) and he had some good touches. You can see that he’s going to be that type of player who may be able to open games up for us when we need it. He will be a great addition.
“Young Luke (Jenkins) reminds me of myself a little bit with how he plays. He has a lot of passion with the way he wants to win games. He will be one for the fans to look out for and Troy (Chiabi) got on the scoresheet again. Hopefully he can keep getting those goals because that’s one of the most important things in football.”
Take a look below at Rob Cornell’s full interview with Will and Tom.