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Club News

Michael Appleton Writes

22 November 2014

The head coach's notes from the AFC Wimbledon matchday magazine

Good afternoon everyone and a warm welcome to today’s match against Wimbledon. I’d like to welcome Neil Ardley and his staff for what I am sure will be another very good game of football.

We come into the game in good spirits after back-to-back wins on the road, so confidence is pretty high. They were both difficult games a long way from home but we took our chances and defended very well when we needed to.

We knew when we travelled up to Grimsby that we were on a hiding to nothing. They were on a great run of form, had climbed to second in their league and having played there as a kid I know how hard it can be for a visiting side at Blundell Park. There is always an upset in the first round of the FA Cup but we did a thoroughly professional job and I don’t think anyone would deny that the better team won on the day.

We were all absolutely delighted for James Roberts who scored two on his debut and had a day he is never going to forget. He has had to wait patiently for his chance but the time was right and he has seized his opportunity with both hands. He will be the first to admit there are still things he can work on, but he is a bright lad with his feet firmly on the ground.

He underlined his potential with the winning goal last weekend as well, when we won up at York. If I had to choose, that was the more important game for us. It is great to make progress in the FA Cup and drawing Tranmere in the second round gives us a chance of going even further, but our main priority will always be the league, so winning at York was massively important.

The thing that pleased me most in that game was the concentration and the sheer determination from every player not to let that lead slip. We have had a couple of games recently where we have let in late goals that cost us three points. Don’t get me wrong, I want us to play good football and be on the front foot but we also need to defend with that fierce intensity every game we play.

We have added to our defensive options with Cheyenne Dunkley arriving from Kidderminster. We have watched him a lot this season and as well as being a very good player he is a ferocious competitor.  I’d like to welcome him to the club. There may be one or two other new faces by the time you read these notes: it is all about competition and striving to improve in every department.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Chris Allen and his youth team on an excellent result against Swindon in midweek. They will have enjoyed the experience of playing at the Kassam Stadium and now get the chance to travel up to Manchester City in the next round.  There are good players coming through all of the age groups and that is just one more sign of a football club heading in the right direction.

Michael Appleton

You can read the full matchday magazine at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc

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