Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth has called on the Wanderers fans to give everything they’ve got in support of his side at AFC Wimbledon......even if it means him losing his voice by the end of the game.
Wanderers will be backed by around 850 visiting fans in a sold-out away end at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, with the standing area being directly behind the dugouts, making it difficult for either manager to convey messages to their players due to the noise from the stands:
“The fans are close to the action at AFC Wimbledon and I lost my voice there two years ago trying to shout over the crowd,” he told wwfc.com. “But it’ll be brilliant to have that many fans there getting behind us – their emotion, enthusiasm and passion has been really special and I’m sure they’re as proud as anyone to see how far we’ve come from last year.
“In footballing terms, it’s been a success story already for us to make the play-offs, but we don’t want to stop there. We’re going for promotion by finishing in the top three and in recent years, 80 points would have been enough. We’ll have to smash that total and keep picking up results because we want to send everyone home happy at the start of May, not at the end of May through the play-offs!”
Ainsworth comes up against a good friend in Neal Ardley, who has guided the Wombles to their best ever season in the Football League, and although their bid for a play-off spot looks to have fallen just short, the Chairboys chief knows his former club won’t be taking their foot off the gas:
“There’s no question that Ards will have them well up for this game – it’s Wimbledon and they’re always up for every game. It’s a special club for me, having played for them in the Premier League, and obviously they’ve reformed and and got back into the league which is a great success story.
“Neal’s a really good friend of mine but sentiment goes out of the window for the game and I’m going there looking to win the game. We need to take our chances when they come and see where we end up.”
Tuesday’s dramatic last-gasp victory over Exeter City came at a cost with a couple of injuries depleting an already small squad, but Ainsworth is hopeful of having a strong selection to choose from:
“What an end to the game it was, and it was great to see the fans going home ecstatic, as we all did. Now it’s a case of getting back down to earth quickly for the game at Wimbledon. We picked up a couple of injuries but we’ve had them assessed and we’ll put out the strongest side we can. It’s all about rest and recovery and hopefully we can go out there and do everything we can to add three more points to our promotion chase.”