Preview: AFC Wimbledon v Doncaster Rovers - ‘The form table counts for absolutely nothing’

Darren Ferguson
Darren Ferguson

They may be at the opposite ends of the form table but Darren Ferguson insists too much should not be read into the difference between the starts to the season of Rovers and this weekend’s hosts.

AFC Wimbledon have yet to win so far this season and have lost back-to-back league matches.

In contrast, Rovers are unbeaten in five matches and are high on confidence.

Ferguson however believes Wimbledon’s results do not necessarily reflect their performances.

“They haven’t really got going yet,” he told the Free Press.

“But I watched their game against Fleetwood and they were unlucky to lose their game 2-0. They only lost 1-0 against Shrewsbury.

“They’ve always been in games.

“It will be a tough place to go. It’s quite a small tight stadium.

“We’ll have to handle certain things.”

Neal Ardley’s Dons remain a work in progress, endeavouring to play more attractive football and shaking off the physicality which helped them climb up the English football pyramid.

Ardley has opted for a 4-3-3 system so far this season and Ferguson expects more of the same at Kingsmeadow.

“They’ve played one formation in their first four games,” he said.

“We’ve watched them today and done certain work on it.

“It’ll be a tough game. They’ve got a front three that will be very lively and will be a handful.

“It’s a tough place to go, there’s no doubt about that.

“We’ve got to make sure we do certain things right, as in a normal game.

“They’ve changed a bit from last year where they were a lot bigger and more physical up front.

“They lost the lad Tom Elliott to Millwall and Tyrone Barnett to Port Vale.

“They’re not as big up front and they are trying to play a lot more football.

“They’re slightly different and we’ll have to deal with that.”

Ardley says there is no need to panic at Wimbledon’s slow start to the campaign.

“We have to get our confidence back and that winning feeling,” he said. “There is no panic. We have to keep believing and keep going.

“We have got good players and I have every faith in them to go and win games.

“We just have to find the formula to win games, find the formula to keep clean sheets and to take our chances when we create them.”

TEAM NEWS

James Coppinger, Andy Butler, Ian Lawlor and Niall Mason are expected to return to the side after being rested against Hull City.

Alfie May is likely to get the nod over Liam Mandeville in attack.

Probable: Lawlor; Mason, Wright, Butler, Andrew; Whiteman, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger; May, Marquis.

HISTORY LESSON

Doncaster Rovers and AFC Wimbledon have never met since the Wombles were formed in 2002.

Rovers played the ‘original’ Wimbledon eight times. Their last trip there, in 1981, ended in a 1-0 victory.

DID YOU KNOW?

AFC Wimbledon hold the record of the longest unbeaten run of league matches in English senior football, having played 78 consecutive league games without a defeat between February 2003 and December 2004.

GROUNDS FOR CHANGE

The Dons are based at Kingsmeadow, which they share with Kingstonian. They hope to move into a new ground by 2019 near Plough Lane, Wimbledon FC’s ground until 1991.