AFC Wimbledon boss: Negativity is unfair – and also not helping my young side

BY EDMUND BRACK

Mark Robinson believes the negativity surrounding AFC Wimbledon’s recent run of form isn’t helping his young side, but admits he does have to rekindle an attacking threat from the Dons over the international break.

The South Londoners exited the EFL Trophy last week and have only won one of their last six League One games.

However, along with the 1-0 win against Lincoln, Robinson’s side picked up draws against Burton and Sheffield Wednesday and beat National League North side Guiseley 1-0 in the first round of the FA Cup thanks to a goal from Ollie Palmer, who started his first game since coming back from a calf strain.

Robinson told the South London Press: “In the last two games we have had to juggle the side about due to depth of squad and injuries. That’s not an excuse – it’s a fact – and we have ended up coming up short. We have got to find that attacking threat that we have lost a little bit.

“They are a young side – we have had a little blip. At the moment, it feels more than a little blip – there is some unnecessary negativity going out at the moment.”

Robinson’s side began the season in scintillating fashion, scoring the most goals out of any side in the top four professional divisions in England at one point, and they were three points off top spot in League One following a 4-3 win away to Morecambe.

Robinson said: “Maybe it’s the fact that we had such a bright start, and fundamentally since Wimbledon have been a professional football club for 10 years, we have looked over our shoulder – apart from four months in 2016 when we got promotion. But for 10 years, we have always looked over our shoulders at relegation.

“The bright start maybe got everyone excited, and maybe everyone is feeling a little bit nervous. There is certainly a little bit of negativity at the moment, which in terms of what the club is trying to build, it’s not going to help the young players in terms of where we want to go.

“The negativity doesn’t help, and I’m not quite sure where it stems from. Our league form in the last five games is two losses, one win and two draws, so it feels a little bit unnecessary doom and gloom.

“We are quite aware of where we are coming up short and where we need to improve, but the sort of air of negativity certainly isn’t going to help – not when you have got a group of young players who are giving it everything and really want to get better.”

The Wimbledon board have decided to move towards a sustainable transfer approach following the move to the new £32million Plough Lane – signing promising youngsters with potential – with the likes of 22-year-old Luke McCormick and 23-year-old George Marsh the key permanent signings from the summer window.

“I am trying to build something,” said Robinson. “We do things very differently – I open myself up to the fans completely in many ways, and I open the players up to the fans in many ways in terms of what they do off the pitch to try and build that attachment.

“Maybe the club needs to do a little bit more to talk about the model. The average stay of a manager across the board is 15 months and in our league it’s 13 months. There is a reason behind that, because people don’t get time to build anything worthwhile.

“Maybe the club needs to make it clear so that we can possibly get that empathy and time to try and build what we want to build.”

PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD

 


 

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