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INTERVIEW | Phil Parkinson ahead of AFC Wimbledon

Read the Gaffer's thoughts ahead of tomorrow's clash

12 January 2024


INTERVIEW | Phil Parkinson ahead of AFC Wimbledon

Read the Gaffer's thoughts ahead of tomorrow's clash

12 January 2024

Phil Parkinson is targeting a second league victory of 2024, as they welcome AFC Wimbledon to the STōK Cae Ras.

They return to league action after earning local bragging rights and defeating Shrewsbury Town in the Emirates FA Cup.

It was a highly contested battle, but Tom O’Connor’s second half strike proved to be the difference and sets up a Fourth Round tie against Blackburn Rovers.

After securing the derby victory, Parkinson explained there was no better way to go into this weekend’s fixture.

He said: “We’re very pleased with the win at the weekend and I said to the lads this morning that the FA Cup goes firmly on the backburner now.

“We enjoyed the weekend; it was a terrific atmosphere and we’re looking forward to the next round against Blackburn Rovers. It will be a proper cup tie I’m sure, but the league is huge as everybody knows.

“There’s no better feeling than coming back to a home game after a terrific win on our travels against one of our local rivals.”

“The lads have trained really well, especially the lads who have been out of the team because they have had some extra sessions.”

This week has seen changes to the squad, with Billy Waters going out on loan to Doncaster Rovers, and both Dan Davies and Owen Cushion joining Colwyn Bay on loan until the end of the season.

However, despite departures and Jacob Mendy’s international selection at the Africa Cup of Nations, the squad has been bolstered by key players returning from injury.

Eoghan O’Connell, Aaron Hayden, Jordan Tunnicliffe and Ollie Palmer have all returned to training after varying periods on the sideline.

It adds depth further depth to the squad, and Parkinson added it has given everyone a huge boost. 

He said: “They’ve all been back on the training ground this week to some degree which has really lifted the place.

“You can see how much it has lifted everyone not just because of their playing ability but because of what they bring to the party in terms of their professionalism.

“It’s great to get all four of them back out on the pitch, we’re pleased with their progress, and we’ll monitor them before tomorrow’s game.

“We also have the reserve team game against Bolton on Tuesday so we’ll be looking at that closely in terms of which players need to get minutes.”

The last time the two Club’s met came early in the campaign, with it remaining all square at the full-time whistle.

It was a positive response from the opening day defeat as Elliot Lee bagged the opening goal twelve minutes into the contest.

There was a sense of déjà vu around Plough Lane, as Ben Foster saved Ali Al Hamadi’s just after the hour mark.

However, they got another opportunity from the spot, which Jamie Tilley took without invitation, tucking the ball into the bottom corner.

The Wombles currently occupy a play-off place, and Parkinson believes it will be another tough test but one he is looking forward to.

He said: “Jacko [Johnnie Jackson] has done a good job there and I know him and Terry Skiverton very well.

“They’re seventh in the league, a competitive side and it’s another top of the table clash for us similar to the Barrow game.

“We’ve got to be right at our best and really work to earn the points tomorrow. Just like every league game it’s so important and the lads are itching to get back out there.”

“We know what Wimbledon are about, they’re a good team that mix the game up well and any team that’s up there at this stage of the season has quality.”


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