Time for the tension to rise at Kingsmeadow ahead of Dons' League Two D-Day
If AFC Wimbledon are to avoid relegation out of League Two, boss Neal Ardley said his charges must learn the lessons from the draw at Gillingham and stick to the script.
Dons must beat Fleetwood on Saturday to climb out of the bottom two, and while the make or break weekend is in their own hands thanks to the point at Priestfield, Ardley believes they could be in a much better position.
Kingsmeadow is a sell-out for the crucial clash, and however much Ardley prepares his troops, he admits there is little he can do once they cross the white line.
“We’ll do our best to make sure the players are ready and primed, but once they get on the pitch, we hope the boys can do their own team-talk. They know what they need to do,” said Ardley.
“There was a lot of frustration after the Gillingham game. “We had done a lot of work in the week on making sure we did certain things, and I thought we would have won had we done them.
“But we only did them in the second half – we waited until we were 2-0 down.
“The players might as well have ripped up everything we had done and said ‘Nah, sorry gaffer, we’re going to do it our way for 45 minutes’ and then come in at half-time and said ‘Oh, yeah, good point, our way did not work, you were right’.
“I have to look at the positives – that could be a massive point because it puts the situation in our own hands.
“If we believe in the script, and the script says we’re going to stay up, then that is a point that could make or break our season.”
Because fellow relegation strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge and York face each other, Dons know a win will see them safe. But rather than go all out for the three points, Ardley is remaining cautious.
He said: “We can’t be gung-ho and find ourselves 2-0 down, there has to be control to the way we play.
“It is a mental thing more than anything, the players know what’s at stake.
“We have to make sure they go into it not fearing anything, embracing it and showing they are a team that want it.”
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