Dons boss not applying any extra pressure to Oxford United game

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley is refusing to heap further pressure on tomorrow’s home game against Oxford United.

The Dons’ next three matches are all against teams below them in the League One table. Bradford City are the visitors on Tuesday before an away date at Plymouth Argyle.

Wimbledon are only a point above the drop-zone and have won just once in the league since the opening day.

“We haven’t won at home yet and we can’t start putting any added pressure on [about the magnitude of the next few games],” said Ardley. “We already put pressure on ourselves within the camp. We expect more than we’ve given in the last couple of weeks.

“If we get things right with our performance then it is going to take a lot to beat us, ultimately that is all we can do in the next two or three games regardless of who we’re playing.

“If you’re asking: ‘Do I think we’re a really good team who are underperforming?’ The answer is yeah and it is a lot worse when you’re looking at a team and not quite sure where you are going with it. We are a very good team – we’ve shown that. But over the course of the season we have played well and lost, which is not a good habit to get into. And also in others we have played poorly and been out of games very quickly.

“We need to get a little more know-how and grit to make sure we can turn average and decent performances into wins.

“We’re not talking about a crisis here. We’re talking about getting some good habits to give us the best chance instead of struggling in those moments.

“It’s been moments – 25 minutes at the start of Saturday’s game [a 

2-1 defeat to Accrington] and a 15-20 minute spell towards the end of the first half the previous week.”

Ardley is hoping to have Anthont Wordsworth (throat infection) and Kwesi Appiah available for the visit of Oxford, who lost 3-0 at home to Manchester City on Tuesday night in the EFL Cup.

Joe McDonnell looks set to continue in goal for the Dons – with on-loan Millwall stopper Tom King dropped last weekend.

“It is a tough position – one if you make a mistake it’s highlighted,” said Ardley. “Joe was everything I know he’s good at. I’ve got no complaints with him.”

PICTURE: PAUL EDWARDS


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