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“We have to dare to dream”

Reaction as Wimbledon take another step closer

9 January 2024


“We have to dare to dream”

Reaction as Wimbledon take another step closer

9 January 2024

Johnnie Jackson is full of belief that the Dons can go all the way to Wembley in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy after watching our side beat Oxford United 2-0.

James Tilley was the star of the show on a freezing cold night at the Cherry Red Records Stadium as our number seven scored either side of half-time to make the game safe.

We now look ahead with anticipation to the quarter-final draw of the competition – with Wimbledon just two wins away from a final at Wembley Stadium.

Here Johnnie provides his reaction to the win, discusses how James has stayed motivated and looks ahead to our trip to Wrexham.


It’s really good – I said to the players before the game that we were three games away from Wembley. We’ve got a chance to do something really special as a group together. Now there’s only two to go. We’ve got over one hurdle. We want to win this competition, I’ve said it from the outset.

We’ve proven we can beat anyone, we beat Portsmouth who were top of League One and then we’ve done similar again tonight. We have to dare to dream.


He’s kept himself motivated. He knows he’s in a group that has a lot of competition for places. He was arguably our best player during the first-half of the season. I played him and played him and played him – so perhaps his dip in form has been a little bit on me. In his career to date he’s not always been used to playing every single minute of every game.

He was doing so well that he wanted that. We changed our system a little bit and that brought about other opportunities for other people, which is why he found himself not playing so much. Every time he’s come on recently he’s done well, I thought he was outstanding tonight. I felt we could’ve got him on the ball more.

When he’s such a threat you’ve got to do the obvious thing and give him the ball. I’m delighted for him as he’s never knocked on my door to ask why he’s not playing, he’s continued to work hard and take his chances.


It’s really pleasing. We had another test against Ipswich Town on Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup and I thought we more than matched them for huge parts of the game. We went to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and did the same against Chelsea. We beat Portsmouth and now Oxford. If that doesn’t give this group confidence I don’t know what will.


It’s allowed us to give young lads opportunities. We’ve called back three recently – only Ryan McLean got on the pitch but we had young Ethan Sutcliffe and Morgan Williams on the bench.

There’s also been opportunities for players who haven’t been playing regularly – I need to give a mention to Nik Tzanev tonight because he made some outstanding saves, especially at 0-0 when he pulled off a double one. He’s been patient and bided his time, he’s shown a brilliant attitude. That’s what you want from your players, it helps to build cohesion in the squad.


Their role will be huge. They always play a vital role. The following we take on the road is unbelievable. It’s a big game for us, they come with a lot of press around them. It’s a game that you look at and look forward to. Like any other game we want to go there and try to win. We want to show a healthy disrespect for the opposition. We back ourselves to give them a proper game and hopefully come out on top.

PICS: Ian Stephen (Pro Sports Images)

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