Johnnie Jackson has called for his play-off chasing side to give another fully committed performance at home when we face promotion contenders Barrow tomorrow.
An injury-time goal from Ronan Curtis earned us a 2-1 victory a fortnight ago at the Cherry Red Records Stadium - and inflicted only a third league defeat on Mansfield this season.
On Saturday afternoon we face a hard to beat Barrow side in third place, who we took a point off in October.
“They’ve only lost five league games all season, so if we want to win this one, we’re going to have to be bang at it like we were against Mansfield,” said Johnnie.
You can listen in full to Johnnie’s training ground update after today’s final session below.
“Barrow are similar to Mansfield with their form. They’re a tough team to play against. I have to say that Pete Wild has done a really good job to get them to where they are.
“We had a really tough game up at their place, but could have come away with all three points. I remember Jake Reeves had a chance to nick it right at the end, but it was probably a fair result with a hard-earned point, and we know we’re going to be in for another tough game.”
New striker Josh Kelly is in line for his home debut, as is another recent signing Kofi Balmer, who impressed in last Saturday’s draw at Bradford. Fellow defender John-Joe O’Toole could make his first appearance in our colours.
“It’s been good to have a clear week of training because we wanted to show them what we’re about, and to get them to understand what we want from them in their roles,” said Johnnie.
“It’s going to go mad again now, in terms of the fixtures. We’ll be playing on four Tuesdays out of the next five, so we won’t get a load of training in. To have a clear week with those guys and see what they’re about has been really good.
“Josh is a centre forward and that takes care of itself, but John-Joe has that versatility where he can play in a few different positions. It was really important to have a good week of training with them.”
Defenders Huseyin Biler and Paul Kalambayi are both available again, having served their suspensions, and there’s better news potentially concerning skipper Jake Reeves (hamstring) and Josh Neufville (back) – although both remain unavailable tomorrow.
“Jake is a little bit closer,” said Johnnie. “He was out on the grass today with Josh Neufville, they were both doing some running. We’re hopeful that it’s just a matter of probably another week before they’re back in training. We’re close to having them back.
“With Joe Lewis and Ryan Johnson, it’s going to be a bit longer with the types of injuries they’ve got - Joe with his knee and Ryan with his ankle. We’re probably looking at more like three or four weeks with those guys before they are building up their rehab.”
You can listen to full coverage of the game against Barrow, with commentary from our Radio WDON team, by purchasing an audio match pass from iFollow Dons.
Johnnie and Assistant Manager Terry Skiverton were also interviewed last night, after they committed to new two-year contracts.
In an extensive conversation, our managerial duo talked about:
- Their growing attachment to our story
- Developing our style of play
- Shaping a squad with Head of Football Operations Craig Cope
- A continual commitment to developing talent of our own
- Their families becoming a part of our club
- Where Johnnie wants to take AFC Wimbledon next
You can listen in full to Johnnie and Terry below.
Action photos: Pro Sports Images.