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Daws looks ahead to AFC Wimbledon challenge

6 April 2018

Interim manager Nick Daws is looking for his side to build on a positive performance at Oxford United when they make the trip to face AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

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7 April 2018

Daws previewed the clash with iFollow Iron, discussing the team news, his pre-match views on the opposition and how training has gone this week.

ON PREPARATIONS…
ND: 
We didn’t train on Monday after the Plymouth game (was postponed) because the weather was horrendous and there was nowhere to train, so we brought the boys back in on Tuesday, which was the plan in the original schedule anyway. We had a good session at a local school in Epworth, which had an Easter Soccer Camp going on at the same time. The boys signed autographs and had photos taken with the kids, which was nice and a different environment, so from that point of view it was good. We’ve been back in on Thursday, and with a real focus on the game on Saturday.

ON AFC WIMBLEDON AND FORMER IRON STRIKER LYLE TAYLOR…
ND: 
We focus a lot on analysing not only our performance, but the opposition’s performance too. I’ve seen enough of AFC Wimbledon over the course of four or five games now to know they can pose a real threat to us. I do think this league is perhaps one of the most competitive. The teams with the Championship budgets stand out but, in the three or four seasons now that I’ve worked at this level, it’s always been competitive. Lyle has done really well. He’s probably closer to his spiritual home in terms of where he’s from and that makes it a little bit easier for him. Lyle has shown over the last two or three seasons that he’s matured as a player and he’s consistently shown that he can play to his strengths. He contributed in his time at this club and we’ll always be grateful to any player who’s contributed, no matter how many games they’ve played. He’s a great personality and I enjoyed working with him during that short spell. He’ll be a test for us.

ON THE ATMOSPHERE THERE…
ND: 
I think there will be atmosphere at Kingsmeadow on Saturday. We went there on a Tuesday night previously and it proved enclosed and atmospheric. We know the players can perform in whatever arena that they’re asked to perform in.

ON BUILDING ON LAST WEEK’S GAME AT OXFORD…
ND: 
Some of the feedback we’ve received this week for that first-half performance has been as positive as I’ve heard in a long time, and that’s justified. We’ve reviewed the game and spoken to the players about it. I also felt our second-half performance was good. It was different because Oxford came out and tried to pose a different threat, approaching the game in a different way. We adapted well to that, and we had the two best chances of the second-half. The decisions (from the referee) are a sideline and we’ve spoken enough about those. The only attempt that Oxford had at our goal in our box was in the first-half, so we restricted them to very little. That was the pleasing element of the second-half because, at the end of the day, we were away from home against a very good team who have just fallen short of the levels they’d expect but got a reaction because they’ve got a new manager in.

ON ANY FRESH INJURY WORRIES…
ND: 
No, not as we stand, the squad has all trained at some point this week to varying levels based on their needs. Some boys have played 40-odd games already this season so they may have had a bit more recovery, while some have had nowhere near that so they’ve done a little bit more. As it stands, it will be the same squad of players available for Wimbledon as we had for Plymouth and Oxford previously.

ON HOW RECENT INJURY ABSENTEES JORDAN CLARKE, MARNICK VERMIJL AND LEE NOVAK ARE DOING AFTER RETURNING…
ND: 
They’ve all trained this week. The only adaptation to that really was we trained on a 4G surface on Tuesday, so we adapted the training for two or three players. That’s something every manager in the country will understand because it’s what we all have to deal with – not necessarily because of existing injuries, but historical ones that flare up on different surfaces. We adapted that but, in the main, everyone was out there that we expected on Thursday, apart from Luke Williams, who’s had some illness. Illness aside, he’s been back in training for a couple of weeks. 

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FANS TRAVELLING TO AFC WIMBLEDON… 
ND: 
Every supporter will play a huge part in the performances and results of everybody. The away support naturally across the country is slightly noisier than some home supports are - that’s human nature and happens everywhere. I hope we can get as many there as possible. Hopefully we’ll give them a performance and result they can go home and be proud of.

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