AFC Wimbledon boss rallies the troops
Ten minutes before the final whistle at Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley spent time alone in the dressing room considering how to react to a 4-0 thrashing.
Rather than rant and rave, he opted to draw the players and staff together into a circle of togetherness.
The Tuesday night League Two mauling in Lancashire ended a run of three games unbeaten that had lifted the Dons clear of the drop zone.
However, the Dons are now back on the fringes of the trap door after three of the teams beneath them won in midweek.
And Ardley, pictured, faces a crisis in defence ahead of Saturday’s visit of Morecambe with Kelly Youga unavailable due to international duty, Alan Bennett and Jonanthan Meades doubtful, and long-term injuries robbing him of Pim Balkestein and Will Antwi.
Ardley said: “We are down to the bare bones at the back, which will be a problem. But we’re also concerned about Brennan Dickenson. He took a knock to the foot and it swelled up alarmingly on the way home.
“Saturday would be his last game on loan, so if he is going to be out for three or four weeks then he is not going to play any part in the run-in.”
Ardley had been expecting a blip in results despite the good form that had garnered nine points out of nine – although he had not predicted a 4-0 drubbing.
He said: “It is par for the course being the team we are.
“I don’t want to play the Accrington result down because the fans who went there deserved better but, when we defend like we did to concede the goals, and we’ve not defended like that for six or seven games, then it has to go down as a blip.
I went into the dressing room 10 minutes before the end, when the game was dead, and thought about what I would say.
“In the end, I formed a circle, we all linked arms, the staff included, and said every time we have had this knock back we have assessed it and kicked on again.
“The boys needed picking up because we have a lot of work to do.”