A visit to Plough Lane served as inspiration to our young talents with an FA Youth Cup tie coming up on Wednesday – and they also raised the decibel levels from the stands!
As a boyhood Dons supporter, the rendition of Wimbledon songs from the Under-18s squad was music to the ears of manager Rob Tuvey, as he prepares them to face AFC Sudbury in Suffolk.
“We had a visit to Plough Lane last week, which was absolutely fantastic," said Rob. "It was brilliant for the boys to see where they could be potentially be playing if they win this tie - and what an arena it is. We are so grateful to the club for letting the boys come down. It was inspirational to go down there and see what the fans have produced. I think a few of the squad were just a little shocked: the scale of Plough Lane compared to Kingsmeadow, the changing rooms, and to see where they could potentially go on matchdays. It was something that they hadn’t seen before.
“We even got them in the safe-standing section, singing a few songs! Socially-distanced of course. It was fantastic to hear the noise they generated and that was only 30 of them so we can’t wait to hear all the fans back in there making that noise as well.
“The boys need to understand the story of the club and the rich history we have in cup competitions. We want to carry on that tradition. Winning is a habit and we want to keep winning games of football. We want to stay in this cup for as long as we can, so the aim is simple: you go out there, you work hard, and you leave everything on the pitch.”
No stone has been left unturned by our academy coaching staff as they get the boys ready to take on Sudbury and Rob has been keen to reinforce a ‘one club’ mentality.
“Myself and James Oliver-Pearce went to watch Sudbury and they are a really good side. If you get into the second round of the FA Youth Cup you are not a bad side. They have scored a lot of goals and won a lot of games on the way to this stage and we are well aware of the threats they pose. We have watched them a couple of times and we are definitely ready for them.
“More than ever this is a three-year age group. The Under-16s are a massive part of what we do. They have been in for the past week helping us with the prep, which has been brilliant. There will be three or four Under-16s with the squad tomorrow and it just brings us all together. We want that one club mentality. It’s been brilliant today to see us training next to the Under-9s and Under-10s. That’s superb as we want the whole academy to be proud of these boys. The boys are the flagship for the academy and we want them to know that the ambassadors are doing well and winning games.”
The picture above shows Rob with Dylan Adjei-Hersey and you can watch the full video interview below.