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Johnnie throws down the gauntlet ahead of pre-season

The second part of a detailed interview with our first-team manager

14 June 2022

Club News

Johnnie throws down the gauntlet ahead of pre-season

The second part of a detailed interview with our first-team manager

14 June 2022

“It’s my job to set those standards high”, says Johnnie Jackson as he prepares to welcome his AFC Wimbledon players back for pre-season training this coming Monday.

It has been a busy month for our manager and his staff, with planning still ongoing in the office as the 39-year-old took some time out in the meeting room to speak to us.

With a trip down to the coast to face Eastbourne Borough and three home games against the likes of Ipswich Town, Reading and Oxford United to contend with, the aim is clearly for the Dons to hit the ground running from the off.

“I will be presenting my vision and telling them what I expect from them in terms of standards for this football club,” says Johnnie. “We need to get our winning mentality back – that’ll be my main focus.

“It will come through hard work. I will be very demanding of the players and if they buy into it, I know we will have success.

“We will push them hard. Some may fall by the wayside but if we can get everyone buying into the vision, I know we will move in the right direction.”

Of course, the grueling pre-season schedule is something that the gaffer is all too familiar with having experienced it both from the dugout and as a player.

Looking back, the former Charlton Athletic man certainly feels that football has moved with the times in terms of preparing players for the campaign ahead.

“It was in cycles really,” he explains. “When I first started playing it was a case of run till you drop basically! It was completely different to now.”

“It’s a bit more balanced. Though it's tough, before you know it you’re getting those touches of the ball that really get the juices flowing.”

Putting plans into place isn’t our manager’s only focus, with the subject of recruitment still being at the forefront of his mind as he seeks to add to the recent signing of Alex Pearce.

With training recommencing next week, there is every chance that more new arrivals could soon follow in the near future but for now getting together with his staff in person is something that Johnnie is particularly enjoying.

“It’s important. I was really keen to get in today with Terry (Skiverton), Rob (Tuvey) and Chris (McConnell) in order to go through our plans for pre-season.

“We know exactly what the week looks like and the following week. Nothing will be left to chance and that way you don’t give the players any opportunities to find excuses,” he adds.

"Everything will be laid out properly in order to give them the best opportunity to excel in training. They will be focused on getting fit and concentrating on implementing what we want.”

In case you missed it, you can read part one of our detailed update from Johnnie about transfers, contracts and the Head of Football Operations role by clicking the link.

You can also look back at full details of our confirmed pre-season friendlies.

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