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Preview: Dons aim to build on ‘strong base’ versus Wigan

Wimbledon take on Wigan at Plough Lane tonight

16 March 2021

AFC Wimbledon have shown increased resilience at the back in recent matches, but now the focus is on providing more attacking threat, according to first-team coach Rob Tuvey.

The Dons certainly showed that all-important cutting edge in the last meeting versus Wigan with Joe Pigott’s double and a Jack Rudoni strike earning a 3-2 victory. Following the battling 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers on Saturday, our coaching team have been working hard to help the players rediscover that scoring touch (the picture above shows Pigs striking our second goal at Wigan in February). Don't forget that tonight's match versus Wigan kicks off at 6.30 pm!

Wigan are just two points above the Dons, though they have played a game more. Wimbledon will come up against a Wigan side revitalised in recent weeks, but the Dons will be looking to expose any rustiness as tonight's opponents were without a game on Saturday due to Sunderland’s participation in the EFL Trophy Final. Leam Richardson’s side have won two out of their last three away matches and the defeat was a gallant one as they were just edged out 2-1 by promotion-chasers Peterborough United. Wigan announced interesting news yesterday with a deal having been agreed to sell the League One club to Phoenix 2021, the UK-based company owned by Mr Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi, subject to EFL approval.

Below are the pre-match views of Rob Tuvey, plus a look at Wigan, and past meetings versus the Latics.

Rob Tuvey

“We need a strong base, and a strong base was obviously a clean sheet on Saturday, which was excellent, but now we need to look at how we can be more of a threat in the final third of the pitch, and how we can get more numbers up there. I thought in the last 15 minutes on Saturday that we produced some really exciting football, it wasn’t just centre halves going up and kicking the ball into the box. It was well-worked moves to get those opportunities. The subs, or the finishers as we like to call them, came on and made an impact. As a squad, we feel that we are getting really close to where we want to be. Of course, we need that attacking threat, but we are sure that will start to come on Tuesday night.

“We’ve looked at the last three games for the opposition, as we usually do. When we played Wigan we were an unknown quantity at the time as it was the first league game for Robbo and myself. I believe that we are a better side going into this game and we are better equipped as well. Yes, we will look at them, but we feel that if you look at the progress we have made in the last eight games we’ve made great strides as well. Although we have to look at their last three games, if you look at us and the journey we are going on we’ve made great strides as well.”

A bit about Wigan’s recent history

Since their Premier League days and winning the FA Cup by pulling off a shock victory against Manchester City in 2013, it has been a difficult time for everyone at the DW Stadium after a slide down to the third tier of English football. Promotion back to the Championship in 2018, thanks to the astute managerial skills of Paul Cook hinted at brighter times ahead, and they were mid-table last season until being put into administration.  That signalled a 15-point deduction and relegation to League One. Following Paul Cook’s departure, John Sheridan was appointed as manager, but he left to take over at Swindon in November, and that meant Leam Richardson, previously assistant to Cook, taking over the reins as Caretaker Manager.

Following a difficult start to his tenure, Richardson has led Wigan to two successive victories, most recently a 2-0 win at Plymouth Argyle. Jamie Proctor, who scored on his debut in our 3-2 win at the DW Stadium, played as the lone front man. Curtis Tilt, who also scored against us in that game, notched the decisive second goal in South Devon. Both those players are on loan from Rotherham and they have made a big difference at both ends of the pitch.

Very positive news was announced by Wigan on Monday. The club announced that a deal had been agreed to sell the League One club to Phoenix 2021, the UK-based company owned by Mr Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi, subject to EFL approval. Wigan said that the sale is likely to be completed before 31 March, and the club will avoid a 15-point this season after being placed into administration last year.

Previous meetings

The Dons have faced Wigan on 14 occasions, winning seven of those matches, losing four, and drawing three. Wigan’s last visit to Plough Lane – at our old stadium just around the corner from the current site – ended in a 2-2 draw in the 1983-84 season. The most recent meeting ended in a 3-2 win for the Dons at the DW Stadium, thanks to a Joe Pigott double and a goal by Jack Rudoni. Click on the link below to watch highlights from that game.

Top scorers

Wimbledon – Joe Pigott (15)

Wigan – Callum Lang (6)

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