Ollie Palmer emotional as he reveals extra motivation to fire for AFC Wimbledon

BY KAI BENNETT

AFC Wimbledon striker Ollie Palmer has revealed an emotional inspiration for his performance on Saturday and had plenty of praise for Ayoub Assal and Joe Pigott.

Palmer scored a brace for the Dons in their 5-1 victory against Accrington Stanley on Saturday but says he got his inspiration from a devastating story he has been following.

Ashley Cain, a reality star from On The Beach, and his fiancee Saffiya Vorajee gave a heartbreaking update on their eight-month old daughter Azaylia, who has been battling with leukaemia.

The couple revealed on Instagram that the chemotherapy that Azaylia had been receiving has failed because of the aggressiveness of the leukaemia and she now could only have days to live.

Their hope was to travel to Singapore but sadly they have now been told they are unable to create a CAR-T for her leukaemia and they will now take Azaylia home and make it as comfortable as possible for her.

Speaking to AFC Wimbledon’s club website, Palmer said: “I actually found my inspiration from somewhere different today. I’ve been following a family, a guy called Ashley and his girlfriend called Safiyya, their baby Azaylia is going through a really tough time and I’ve been following that and that’s where I got my inspiration from today.

“She’s had a really tough time lately and had some really bad news of late. I don’t know them and they don’t know me but that’s where I got my inspiration from today.

“You have to use things in different ways.

“I do it for my kids and everyone’s got reasons and some things are bigger than football. People get their inspirations from different places and the gaffer [Mark Robinson] has messages up all around the training ground about being relentless, having consistency. We have to carry on winning.

“We have to back this up with a win against Ipswich on Tuesday and whatever drives you on to that, make sure you use that to give your best for Wimbledon, which is such a fantastic club.”

Dons striker Palmer says that seeing other people’s challenges, put your own into perspective.

“You see other things going on in the world, [for example] the family I’ve just spoken about and you think, I’ve been frustrated and down about my hip injury and it makes me think that’s pathetic. It’s pathetic that I’m going home and I’m angry about injury, I’m still healthy, I’m still working. It’s just an eye opener.

“It’s been a tough year for millions of people but some more than others.”

The result moved the Dons out of the relegation zone and Palmer talked about the performance on Saturdays as well as his own ambitions for the rest of the season and had plenty of praise for Ayoub Assal and strike partner Joe Pigott.

“Myself and everyone else has contributed very well today, it is important to get goals and it’s important to keep clean sheets. Even though we didn’t do that today, it was actually my man [that I was my marking] that scored [the goal] today. [Scoring the leveller] was something I needed to do today to get the team level again, and then I put us ahead, which felt good to be able to do that.

“This is such a tough place to come, so it was good to be able to travel back to London with three points.

“I’m looking forward to finishing the season strong and try and help the team get out of the position we are in by scoring as many goals as possible. Everyone to a man was brilliant today.

“He’s [Ayoub Assal] a great little talent. He’s in and around tight spaces, low centre of gravity. He’s a good player. I actually didn’t think we got him on the ball enough today, but he still got his two goals and that speaks volumes. It was good for him to get his two goals, it’s a good confidence boost and hopefully he can kick on.

“He’s a confident lad. I had a few words with him when I signed. He’s a really good kid, he wants to learn, he wants to listen. He’s brave in different ways and he’s proved that today and since he’s come into the team.

“Pigs has scored again today, it was a wonderful free kick and when you’ve got another out and out striker beside you that takes the pressure off of him. Also Ryan [Longman] offers different problems. Ayoub’s running in behind, [Jack Rudoni] Rudi’s running in behind and it’s good to have those sorts of options.

“Everyone’s bringing something to the team, which is vital. However we can’t get carried away, we have to continue this now for the next few games until the end of the season.

“We have to build on that. We haven’t put back to back wins together all season, so we have to do that and that’s massive on Tuesday and again on Saturday.”

PICTURES: SEAN GOSLING

 


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