Glyn Hodges is looking forward to a tough test against another side in the top half of League One after matching Rotherham and Ipswich Town.
The Dons tonight face Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium, a venue that has been far from a happy hunting ground for Wimbledon since promotion to the Football League back in 2011. However, Glyn’s boys go there buoyed by that superb draw at Rotherham United on Saturday and most of the squad were involved in last season’s draw at Oxford that turned out to be crucial in the Great Escape.
In his interview ahead of tonight’s match, Glyn was in optimistic mood about the challenges in front of his side and he praised the 248 travelling Dons that roared on the team at Rotherham on Saturday. Below are quotes from both managers, plus stats, and a look back at previous meetings between the two clubs.
“When Oxford beat us in December they went second in the league, so they are a good side. They’ve lost a couple of big players in the window. We will go there with the mindset of getting something out of the game, that’s how we approach things. After two big points against Ipswich and Rotherham we will be going there full of confidence.
“We’ve been on the receiving end (of late goals) against Southend and Bolton. Those were games when we thought we had got the wins, but they felt like defeats in the end. Getting that last-minute penalty from Kwesi, it felt like a win. It was buzzing in the dressing room afterwards and credit to Kwesi for showing the confidence to smash it in the back of the net. It was a great penalty. I’ve always said that the key is not being afraid to miss and Kwesi wasn’t."
“I know that supporters travelling up by train had to turn back and a few couldn’t make it, but I was really surprised to see the amount of fans that we had at Rotherham. Not only that as it was the noise they made, we could hear them all the way throughout the game and with the penalty at the end they were celebrating like we got the win and so were we. It was a joint effort and we thanked them, as we always do.”
“I thought we were fantastic, but we didn’t win. Sunderland had 90 seconds, then we had 90 minutes but I can’t ask for any more out of this group of players. We have nine games this month and they are giving me everything. In all my years of doing this I am probably the most content I have been that I am getting the maximum from everybody here. It’s the same every week and I can’t ask for much more.
“There is so much to play for and some big games coming up. For the big cup games the atmosphere on nights like that is very good in the stadium but for some of the games we have coming up we know we will have to create it ourselves. There is a curveball in every game but we are in such a good place. From an unstable place 18 months ago everyone here has done what has been asked of them. We have delivered a training ground, we have delivered stability, and now we have to deliver success. We couldn’t have done what we have done this season last season because we didn’t have the training ground and it was one thing after another. We have really come of age since then.”
Glyn Hodges reported in his pre-match update that Paul Kalambayi and Anthony Wordsworth are progressing well from injuries, but they are not ready for tonight’s game. On-loan Rotherham winger Julien Lamy, who was ineligible to face his former club on Saturday, could get more game-time. United are without the suspended Alex Gorrin, who serves the second of his two game ban. Liam Kelly misses out once again with a hamstring problem, but Jamie Hanson is back to full fitness after a virus. Marcus Browne is fully fit after injury, while Anthony Forde made his first start against Sunderland on Saturday after a rib injury.
Last time out
Oxford 0-1 Sunderland
Rotherham 2-2 AFC Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon 1-2 Oxford (29 December 2019)
A blast from the past!
AFC Wimbledon’s only victory at the Kassam Stadium since reformation came on 9 October 2016 – our first season in League One. Tom Elliott, Darius Charles and Andy Barcham scored the goals in a 3-1 victory the came in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Take a look below at the highlights from that game.
That win ended a run of 10 Football League matches without a victory for Wimbledon against Oxford. However, The Dons have won four out of the last seven meetings between the clubs and last season earned a 0-0 draw at the Kassam Stadium – a point that turned out to be crucial in maintaining our League One status.
Wimbledon supporters can pay on the night to cheer on The Dons at the Kassam Stadium. See our previous tickets announcement for more details.
Those supporters not attending tonight can watch the game on iFollow for £10. You can purchase a match pass by visiting our iFollow section on the official website.