Mark Robinson says that he is working hard to get the best from the whole squad, as Wimbledon prepare for a vital sequence of fixtures, starting with Burton Albion tonight (7.00 pm kick-off).
Robbo has been pleased with the progress shown recently with creditable draws at Shrewsbury and Blackpool secured thanks to late equalisers by Ayoub Assal and Ollie Palmer. Those points have raised hopes that Robbo can guide the Dons to safety and a sixth successive season in the third tier of English football. However, it will be far from an easy task tonight against a side revitalised by former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. With five wins from the last six matches, including a victory last time out versus promotion contenders Peterborough, Burton are the form team in League One.
Burton last visited Plough Lane in 1976 for a Southern League match at our old stadium, just around the corner from our current home, with Wimbledon winning 2-0 on the way to promotion into the Football League.
Below are quotes from Robbo ahead of the game, plus a focus on tonight’s opponents, and a look back at previous matches.
“Everyone in the squad is different and that’s a real challenge. I am leaving players out who are performing really well in training, but only 11 of them can play. That’s a big challenge, and it’s very different from development, where they know that there is natural rotation. Here everyone wants to play, so when they are performing well and they can do a job, it’s a challenge for me. I am enjoying it. You get to know the players and how they are thinking. You want players to be unhappy and for them to be wanting to play all the time. You are in trouble if they don’t want to play. It’s just about how we deal with that and we have to make sure that their reaction doesn’t bring the culture and the environment down. They are going to be disappointed, but it can’t bring down what we are doing and there also has to be a look at the bigger picture and what we are trying to create here.
“We always look at the opposition’s games and Burton were excellent against Peterborough, but we’ve reinforced a lot of good things about our performance from Saturday to our players. We’ve also looked at how we can move forward and the reasons why we performed like we did on Saturday. We have to keep getting those habits right. We have to get the processes right and keep adding to them.
“We go out and do what we do. The three points should come, but if they don’t then we revisit the process. I think anyone can see that there’s been progression, apart from the Hull game where the players went off and did their own things.”
Ethan Chislett will not be risked due to an Achilles tendon injury. Robbo believes that Ethan can be a major player for the Dons during the run-in and he is prepared to wait until Ethan is fully fit.
Tonight will be the 14th meeting between the two clubs since Wimbledon’s return to the league in 2011. Burton have the upper hand with five victories, the Dons having triumphed three times, and the other five games ending in draws. In 2012, both sides won by four-goal margins. Wimbledon’s 4-0 victory on 24 March 2012 was achieved at the Cherry Red Records Stadium thanks to goals from Luke Moore, George Moncur, Byron Harrison, and Sammy Moore. However, it was a very different story at the start of the next season – Wimbledon’s second back in the league – as Burton won 6-2 at the Pirelli Stadium. Cleveland Taylor, Billy Kee, Jacques Maghoma, Justin Richards, Robbie Weir, and Zander Diamond put Burton 6-0 up, before late consolations from Byron Harrison and Pim Balkestein.
Our last home match versus Burton was an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on 28 January 2020. Joe Powell put Burton ahead in just the seventh minute, but the lead didn’t last long as Mitch Pinnock rounded the keeper and scored with a fine angled drive. Jamie Murphy put Burton back in front before the break, but Callum Reilly struck the equaliser in the second-half after the visitors had failed to deal with a long throw-in by Pinnock. Click on the link below to watch the highlights from that game.
Going further back!
Prior to meeting the Brewers at Football League level in recent years, the Dons were regular Southern League adversaries of Burton during the 1960s and 70s. On 23 August 1975 Burton visited Plough Lane to take on defending Southern League Champions Wimbledon – and there was simply no stopping Allen Batsford’s all-conquering team! Two penalties by Mick Mahon, a goal from Ian Cooke, and a strike by Billy Holmes secured a 4-0 victory for the Dons. Wimbledon went onto retain the Southern League title, but promotion to the Football League had to wait until 1977 when the club were finally elected in by member clubs.
Form guide (last six, starting with most recent)
AFC Wimbledon DDLWLW
Burton Albion WWWWLW
Last time out
Blackpool 1-1 AFC Wimbledon
Burton Albion 2-1 Peterborough
Wimbledon – Joe Pigott (15)
Burton – Kane Hemmings (10)
A focus on Burton
The Brewers had a two-season stay in the Championship before relegation in 2018 with Nigel Clough having guided the club into the second tier of English football for the first time in their history. It has been some journey for the men from Derbyshire with Burton having completed a memorable rise through non league, culminating in promotion to the Football League in 2009. Roy McFarland was the man who led them there after Nigel Clough’s departure to Derby County. It was Clough though who completed the hard yards, taking Burton from the Northern Premier League to the verge of league football.
This season Burton appeared to be relegation certainties and a return to the league’s basement division for the first time since 2015. However, Jake Buxton’s departure in late December after a 4-3 defeat against Wigan Athletic led to the start of a second spell at the club for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who guided Burton to promotion from League Two in 2015.
Hasselbaink has revitalised Burton’s fortunes and they have won five matches out of the last six. Hayden Carter, a loan signing from Blackburn Rovers, has fitted in seamlessly in central defence, bolstering Burton’s back-line. He was one of nine signings made by Hasselbaink before the close of the January transfer window. However, at the other end Hasselbaink has retained faith in a trusty partnership from before he arrived with Kane Hemmings and Lucas Akins continuing to lead the line. Former Kingstonian youth team player Michael Mancienne, who played first-team football for Chelsea in his early days, has protected the back four efficiently as a defensive midfielder after joining in January.
Match coverage tonight
Tonight's game will be streamed live with coverage on our iFollow channel. Mikey T and Rob Cornell will be commentating live from Plough Lane.
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