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Sunday 30 May 2004
club news
Euro 2004

Dons fans missing the atmosphere of home matches have the opportunity to come together and get behind England at The Fans' Stadium - Kingsmeadow.

All England's matches will be shown on the big screen, with a barbecue outside, and drinks offers available.

On Sunday 13 June, England take on France with kick-off at 7.45pm UK time (and, indeed, Portugese time). The barbecue will start in the afternoon, so why not make a day of it?

On Thursday 17 June, the match against Switzerland kicks off at 5pm. And on Monday 21 June, the match against Croatia starts at 7.45pm.

There promises to be a great atmosphere for these games, so come down to join in the fun and help reduce the ground debt by putting money over the bar. As many other games in the competition will be shown in the main bar as possible, and details of events planned for future rounds will be printed nearer the time.

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Thursday 27 May 2004
club news
Matt's the daddy

Fans may be interested to learn that goalkeeper Matt Martin became a father on Tuesday evening. His daughter Holly was born at 11.31pm, weighing 7lb 6 oz. Both mother and daughter are doing fine and we understand Matt has managed not to drop the baby as yet. Congratulations and best wishes to all three of them from all of us at the club.

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Thursday 27 May 2004
first team news
All the B's for pre-season

Two more pre-season friendlies have been confirmed.

On Saturday 17 July, the Dons will travel to Merland Rise to play Banstead Athletic with a 3pm kick-off. Prices are yet to be confirmed. Banstead, who of course knocked the Dons out of the Surrey Senior Cup last season with a 2-1 win at Kingsmeadow, will be in the same league as the Dons next campaign and Merland Rise will be the venue for the AFC Wimbledon reserve team matches.

The opposition for the first team?s first home pre-season friendly on Saturday 24 July has been confirmed as Barnet. They will travel to Kingsmeadow for a 3pm kick-off, with tickets on sale as follows: Main Stand- Adult 8, Concessions 4, Under-16s 3 Terraces ? Adult 6, Concessions 3, Under-16s 2. Tickets will be on sale on the day only and there will be none on sale in advance.

This day is also scheduled to mark the launch of the brand new AFC Wimbledon kit for the next two seasons, with your first chance to buy the new merchandise the night before. Watch the website for further confirmation.

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Monday 24 May 2004
club news
News from the parade

Many thanks to the 2,000 or so fans who lined the route of the bus parade in Wimbledon yesterday. We're sorry if anyone was disappointed by the early arrival and swift departure of the bus. Unfortunately the police were worried about traffic control issues and so we were unable to wait any longer or make a second circuit.

It was also announced yesterday afternoon that Dickie Guy, legendary 1970s goalkeeper, has been offered the post of President of AFC Wimbledon and has accepted.

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Friday 21 May 2004
club news
Sunday reception

A reminder that the team have been granted a civic reception by Merton council on Sunday and will be processing from the top of Wimbledon Hill to Wimbledon Theatre between 12 noon and 12.30 pm.

It would be great to see as many fans down there as possible to show their support and remind the people of Wimbledon that they have a football team to be proud of.

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Thursday 20 May 2004
first team news
Brentford friendly

Another pre-season friendly has been confirmed for Tuesday 20 July against Brentford FC at Griffin Park with an evening kick-off.

Designated "The Fans' Game" it will be for the Supporters Direct Cup and the gate receipts will be shared.

Tickets will be 10 for adults, 5 for concessions and 1 for children. Family tickets (available in advance only) will be 15 for two adults and two children.

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Thursday 20 May 2004
first team news
Backroom reshuffle

Dave Anderson has brought Warren Kelly to the club as his first team coach. Warren worked with Dave at Hendon, initially as player-coach and then as a coach after a knee injury ended his playing career.

The manager has also brought John Morris to the club as the new reserve team manager. John fulfilled the same role at Hendon. Dave Wager will act as his assistant.

On the other side of the coin, Dwight Lewis and Peter Heyne have left the club. Dave explained: "It's no comment on Dwight and Peter personally and I'd like to thank them for all their work for the club. But as a manager you like to work with your own people around you and I'm confident in this set-up." Lee Dobinson and Steve Brindley will continue to work as Football Support Staff.

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Monday 17 May 2004
first team news
Jon Turns up

Dave Anderson has announced that he will be bringing Jon Turner to the club as his assistant manager. Jon was Dave's assistant at Hendon. He won the FA Vase while a player at Yeading in 1990, and went on to keep them in the Ryman premier as manager.

The Dons' new manager explained: "Jon is an excellent manager in his own right and I've worked with him for three years at Hendon. As someone who's managed at a level above the division we'll be in, his experience and knowledge will be invaluable."

And Dave has hit the ground running with plans for next season: "I had a great time at the Fun Day. I felt like I met hundreds of people and the welcome all the fans gave me was superb - if it's possible it made me even more determined to succeed for them. They are all genuine football people. I spoke to all of the players who were there and we'll be having a light training session this week just to get to know each other. I've got meetings lined up with the backroom staff as well, so I can get everything sorted as quickly as possible. I also had a chat with Nicky English and I'm very glad he wants to stay - hopefully that will be finalised this week as well."

We got Dave to tell us all about his expectations and plans on joining AFC Wimbledon at some length and the full interview will be posted here shortly.

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Saturday 15 May 2004
club news
Merton civic reception granted

Merton Council have granted the double-winning AFC Wimbledon team a civic reception and bus parade on Sunday 23 May. The team and officials will be presented to the Mayor and council officers at the Civic Centre in Morden from 1pm.

Before that, on their way, the team will proceed down from Wimbledon Hill at 12 noon in an open-top bus and travel slowly down until reaching Wimbledon theatre at about 12.30 pm.

This is an excellent opportunity to remind the people of Wimbledon what their team has achieved, so it would be great to see as many fans as possible there to cheer the team through Wimbledon town centre. Bring your colours and your flags and celebrate the double one last time.

Meanwhile, as some fans may have heard, Nicky English has signalled his interest in taking the U-18s coaching job for next season. Details are still being discussed, but the club is delighted that he wants to stay and hopes to make a formal announcement as soon as it can be confirmed.

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Friday 14 May 2004
club news
Family Fun Day

DON'T forget this Sunday sees the Family Fun Day take place at TFS-KM from 11am till 4pm. Further details are in the item below, but it has also been confirmed that new manager Dave Anderson will be in attendance with his family to meet supporters on an informal basis.

Dave said:
"I'm looking forward to coming down and hopefully meeting as many of the fans as possible. I can't wait to get started and it should be a good chance to have a chat with as many of the supporters as I can and start that process."

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Thursday 13 May 2004
club news
Sunday Fun Day Sunday

The season may be over, but the Dons excitement certainly isn't. This Sunday gives you chance to raise money by riding your bikes, and then the entertainment of the Family Fun Day at Kingsmeadow in the afternoon.

The sponsored cycle ride at Beddington Park in Wallington still has spaces available. And if you don't want to exert yourself, but still want to support the cause, Darren Dobinson, Lewis Taylor, Steve Gibson, Ryan Gray and Lee Dobinson have all agreed to take part. You can sponsor them by emailing Mark Davis on rayleigh20@aol.com.

And Roger Dennis and his team have been working hard to make this year's Family Fun Day even bigger and more exciting than last year's. It will run from 11.00 until 4.00 on Sunday at The Fans' Stadium - Kingsmeadow. Members of the AFC Wimbledon mens and ladies teams will be present and the ladies will play a five-a-side game at 2 pm. Other five-a-side games may also be arranged.

There will be an opportunity to have a photograph taken with the CCL league and cup trophies and an AFC Wimbledon player. Photo times have yet to be decided, but the price will be 10 for a photograph with cardboard frame, postage and packing. There is no guarantee which player will available at any particular time, but this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Other planned attractions include:
free five-a-side football for 5 to 14 year olds
Deen City Farm
Wimbledon Greyhound Welfare will bring some greyhounds
giant inflatables
rides for small children
various games; face painting
an appearance by Colourhouse Children's Theatre
Ks Trust
other local organisations' stalls
AFC Wimbledon merchandise
Andrew Watson's Wimbledon Football Programmes
a raffle.

The bar will be open from 12.00, the tea bar will be serving food and ice cream and candyfloss will also be on sale. Other attractions are still being planned.

The organisers are looking for good quality second hand items for a bric-a-brac stall and for homemade cakes. Cakes and second hand items will be welcome early on the day.

Please contact Roger Dennis at roger.dennis@thedonstrust.org if you are able to help on the day, if you can help with leafleting or if you can put posters up in local shops and elsewhere.

The day is being sponsored by Costello Fencing, 37 Parkview Road, London SE9 3QP, www.costellofencing.co.uk, 020 8294 5800, so many thanks to them.

And as a final incentive, the merchandise team have announce a one-off, one day clearance sale:

Home shorts -Adult 10, Children 10 Adult XXXL, XXL, XL Children most sizes
Away shorts -Adult 10, Children 10 Adult XXL, XL, S, XS Children 5-6, 3-4
Sweatshirts (Navy/White/Yellow - last year's style) -Adult 15, Children
15 Adult XXXL, XXL, XL Children 5-6, 3-4
Tee-shirts (Navy/White/Yellow - last year's style) -Adult 10, Children 10
Adult XXXL Children very few left
Jogging Bottoms (as worn by Kevin Cooper) -Adult 10, Children 10
Adult XXXL, XXL, XL, S, XS Children all sizes
2004 Calendar -5
DVD The Story So Far -10

These are unrepeatable offers, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

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Thursday 13 May 2004
first team news
Pre-season fixture added

The Dons have announced the second of their pre-season fixtures. They will travel to Kent to face Gravesend & Northfleet on July 27 for a 7.45pm kick-off. Gravesend finished 11th in the Football Conference in the 2003/04 season.

Glenn Aitken, who played for the Dons in Southern League days, is the Gravesend Director of Football. He joined Wimbledon in 1974 making 100 appearances and scoring 9 goals in non-league football as well as scoring one goal in 11 league appearances before leaving at Christmas 1977, with the club in Division Four. Ex-Don Justin Skinner, who made two appearances for the Wimbledon first team, is a member of the playing staff.

Further fixtures will be announced as soon as they are known - remember AFC Wimbledon will play their first home fixture on Saturday 24 July, when they will hopefully launch the new kit for the 2004-5 season. The only other confirmed fixture so far is the trip to Dagenham & Redbridge on July 10, which will mark the start of the Dons' pre-season campaign.

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Tuesday 11 May 2004
youth news
AFC Wimbledon U14 3 - 2 Croygas Youth U14 aet

Coach Ben Canham reports:

I could write a novel on this single game, which I should do as the memories will live forever with those 250 Dons fans who witnessed the most tense, nail-biting experience of the young lads' footballing careers.

After the first game had finished 1-1, with Croygas equalising with the very last kick of the game, what was to happen in this match exceeded that of the previous game and took it beyond reality.

The first half was closely fought but Croygas edged it and missed the only clear chance of the half. The game was physical yet the AFCW boys continued to try to play football, but there was no end product to several good moves.

The second half was also tight until the 60th minute when Croygas scored as a player was left free to tap in at the back post from a corner. The last 10 minutes was all AFC Wimbledon as they went all out attack to get the equaliser. Daniel Sintim hit the crossbar with a header from Aaron Reids corner. But in the very last minute of normal time the ref awarded a free kick 30 yards out.

Having missed several free kicks earlier, AFC sent up big keeper Jamie Henley to have a try. It worked. Henley lashed the ball towards goal, the Croygas keeper could only parry the ball upwards and the ball fell to Sam Manzambi who overhead kicked the ball into the net. That was Sam Manzambi's 43rd goal in 25 games. That's nearly two goals a game! The crowd and bench went crazy. The normal time whistle went and the Dons were on the up.

Nerves were jangling in the team talk before extra time but, having just scored, the lads wanted to get straight back into the game. In the first minute of extra time, Aaron Reid swung in another corner and Declan Connery charged in and flick headed (Sanchez style) into the top corner. He was mobbed and once again you thought things couldn't get more crazy. But they did. The end of the first period was almost over when poor marking again allowed Croygas to grab an equaliser.

The second half of extra time was swinging from end to end, with scrambles and last ditch blocks in the area. The Dons had the better chances but in the final, final minute, Lawrence Ebanks raced down the left and cut the ball back to Connery who was there again to rifle home from 12 yards. What happened next will live long in my memory and I'm sure all of those who were there. The place went crazy. A pitch invasion of celebration as Connery ran to the hoards of Dons fans, jumped the barrier, and got buried amongst bodies of players and supporters. When he was finally dragged out from the bottom of the pile, the ref blew his whistle just after Croygas restarted the game. The pitch invasion returned and relief, joy, happiness was there
to be seen by all Dons!

What a game! What a way to win! The League and cup double is complete not just for the first team, but also by the U14s. Hey Kris: that trophy cabinet ready yet and a full time trophy polisher needed?".

Squad: Henley, Campbell, Bryant, Cox, Allen, Weatherhead, Sintim, Reid, Ebanks, Savage, Connery, Peck, Bartley, Bailey, Manzambi.

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Tuesday 11 May 2004
club news
Mangerial appointment

FOLLOWING the conclusion of the interview process, the AFC Wimbledon board has appointed Dave Anderson as first team manager with immediate effect. The club are very keen to keep Nicky involved and have offered him a post to develop the new U-18 side to provide the first team players of the future. Nicky is currently considering this offer.

Dave joins the club from Hendon, where he has been first team manager since 2001, leading them to eighth, third and fourth placed finishes in the Ryman Premier Division over the past three seasons. As a player he had schoolboy forms at Wolves and Sheffield United and played for Glentoran and Bangor before injury ended his career at the age of 23. He represented Northern Ireland at Schoolboy, Youth and B level and is the holder of a UEFA B coaching certificate. He was awarded manager of the month in the Ryman League for November 2003 and February 2004.

The board are now able to release further details of the interview process and the reasons for the decision. Eight applicants were invited to first round interviews, and four were asked back to a second round, held last week. They were interviewed by the AFC Wimbledon board and Ian Cooke, taking up his remit as a non-executive director of AFCW plc. For obvious reasons, the names of the other unsuccessful candidates will not be disclosed. The four men on the interview panel were unanimous in their view that Dave's relevant experience, skillset and plans for the development of the team made him the outstanding candidate.

The Dons Trust Board, who were kept informed throughout the process, were told of the board's decision yesterday evening. They are satisfied that the process was fair and exhaustive. They would like to take this opportunity to thank Nicky English for his efforts and achievements this season and to welcome Dave Anderson to the club.

Chairman Kris Stewart explained:
"We are of course an ambitious club and we believe we must be aiming for promotion next year. That means we need a top six finish ? ideally to be in the top two. All four of us felt that we will be given the best possible chance of achieving that aim with Dave Anderson in charge. We would like to thank Nicky English for all his hard work since February and we very much hope he will stay with us in a new and important role for our development."

Dave Anderson said:
"I'm absolutely delighted and I feel honoured to have been chosen. There won't be a stone left unturned to continue the club's success. I respect the job that Nicky English has done, and that Terry Eames did before him, and I'll look to take the club in the same direction. I think that my knowledge of the Ryman League will be a help, and I hope my passion will benefit the club. My ambitions are to take this club as far as I can ? it's a fantastic set-up and I'm a very proud man."

And the new manager compared the challenge ahead to his achievements at Hendon:
"On the football field, the challenge never changes. The game is the same no matter what the level. Off the field, it's a totally different ball game. This is a massive club with a big supporter base and I'm really looking forward to working with them. I would say to the fans, 'Let's get to know each other.' I know a lot of people will have a lot of affection for Nicky and what he has done and I respect that, but I can assure them I want to work with them to take the club in the right direction together. I'll be joining the Dons Trust as soon as they'll have me!"

Dave is currently on a short break in Portugal, but will be back this weekend and is itching to get started:
"The job starts as soon as my plane lands on Saturday. I want to meet the players and chat to them as soon as possible. To be honest, I probably won't need a plane to fly back, I feel that elated. I'm really looking forward to getting started."

Nicky English had this message for the fans:
"Obviously, at the moment I'm devastated. The last four weeks in particular have been the best of my footballing life, and I genuinely thought I had good things lined up for the club. But I understand that the board have got to make the decisions they think are in the best interest of the club and of the fans. I hope the fans get behind the new manager as well as they got behind me and offer him all their support.

"The club has offered me a role, but it's not the time to respond right now. I want to go away and think about it calmly for a while. I've loved it here for 18 months and the crowd have made me fantastically welcome for all that time, so I'd like to thank them once more.

"As I've said before, this club is much bigger than any one man, be it me or whoever else, and the directors and the Dons Trust board have a responsibility to do what they think is best for the club. They weighed up the pros and cons of the applications and felt that someone with Ryman Premier experience was better suited to the role and I accept that. Personally I'm sad because I don't think I could have offered any more, but ultimately they've chosen someone else and I wish the new manager all the best here."

Club captain Joe Sheerin welcomed Dave to the club and said that the players were looking forward to working with him:
"At the moment I have to say a big thankyou first to Nicky English for all his work over the last 18 months and since February in particular. We're all very proud of what the club has achieved this season. But now I look forward to meeting Dave and making sure we do as well again next year."

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Monday 10 May 2004
first team news
Unbeaten champions look to next season

Many congratulations to the management and playing staff on the unbeaten title-winning campaign for 2003-4 in the Combined Counties League. Thoughts have already turned to next season - the following information has been released by the Rymans (Isthmian) League:

"Following the meeting of the Alliance on Sunday 9 May, the following clubs have been placed in next season's Ryman League Premier Division and Division One. The constitution is subject to approval by the National League Systems Committee.

Division One
AFC Wimbledon
Ashford Town (Kent)
Banstead Athletic
Burgess Hill
Corinthian Casuals
Cray Wanderers*
Croydon Athletic
Dulwich Hamlet
Hastings United
Metropolitan Police
Newport IoW
Tooting & Mitcham United
Walton & Hersham
* Subject to confirmation."

The clubs involved should receive official written confirmation later this week - as soon as we receive any more news it will be published here.

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Friday 07 May 2004
club news
Pieces of eight

Following the club's challenge of attending eight Dons games in eight days, it seems that three fans were able to go two better and attend ten in ten by travelling down to Bristol with the Ladies on Sunday before going to the Raynes Park Vale mudbath on Monday.

Before the club digs out some kind of memento to commemorate their feat, we'd like to hear from anyone else who might have made the eight as challenged - email editor@afcwimbledon.co.uk

A presentation to the four we know of so far will be made before the game - so come to the pressbox at 2.45 please.

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Friday 07 May 2004
club news
Sunday matches

NOTcontent with holding the record for AFC Wimbledon appearances and goals scored, Kevin Cooper has decided he hasn't played enough football yet this season. This Sunday, after shaking off his hangover, he will be turning out for an Ex-Northwood All-Stars side in a testimonial match against Northwood. The fixture is for Northwood skipper Chris Gell, who has completed ten seasons and played 537 games for the club. It kicks off at 12 noon at Chestnut Avenue, Northwood, with admission 2 including programme (children free).

And later in the afternoon, don't forget Ben Canham leads his U14 E&E side to the League Cup Final Replay at Banstead FC. Having been pegged back to 1-1 with the last kick in normal time of the first clash, the boys look to complete the double once more with a 5.45pm kick-off.

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Friday 07 May 2004
first team news
Ward for Wallingford

Nicky English has named the following squad for tomorrow's final game of the season at TFS-KM against AFC Wallingford:

Matt Martin, Steve Gibson, Keith Ward, Matt Everard, Lewis Taylor, Danny Oakins, Jamie Angell, Paul Quinn, Darren Dobinson, Lee Sidwell, Gareth Graham, Seb Favata, Ryan Gray, Jamie Taylor, Shane Small-King, Kevin Cooper.

If he gets on, Keith Ward will be playing the final game of a 20 year non-league career. Since joining AFC Wimbledon at almost the start of its existence, he has made 53 first team appearances, scoring seven goals, but has spent most of this season playing in the reserves, helping Dave Wager bring the youngsters through by playing 30 games.

Nicky English said:
"Wardy will participate at some point. He's been a good servant to the club and a great man to have around. It's a simple but good gesture to enable the fans to thank him for what he's done and for him to thank them for their support. There's a lot of ifs and buts about next season, but I hope he stays here in some capacity, because he's someone everyone is comfortable working with."

Looking back to last night's draw with Reading Town, the acting manager admitted it was a poor performance, but felt the emotion of the end of the season provided mitigating circumstances:
"That was by far our sloppiest performance of the season. But when you've had as many highs as we've had in the last few weeks, players can feel that things are already achieved and motivation becomes much harder. Things they do as an instinct on the pitch normally, they tend to start thinking about and become a little stale. Having said that, the reason why I'm rotating the squad much more since we won the league is that it's a good way of motivating people who don't know if they're starting and that's the only thing left to motivate them really.

"I'm looking forward to tomorrow and so are all the players, but there is a danger they start to look forward to the after party and not the game itself. So I'll try to keep them focused and get the best out of them one last time for this season."

And the manager expects a big crowd and a good day:
"Hopefully it'll be a big full crowd. The squad will all be there, including some of the players from the reserve squad. Unfortunately Ross Standen has a prior commitment to be best man at a wedding, but everyone else will be there. I would ask the fans to be patient after the game and for the presentations and stay off the pitch, so everyone can do a lap of honour and thank everyone for their support."

Some of the presentations will take place before the game, probably starting around 2.15 pm, and over 1,500 tickets have been sold already, so fans are advised to arrive early. There are very few Main Stand tickets still available. Any left after 4pm today will be on sale only from 1.45pm inside the main entrance.

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Thursday 06 May 2004
club news
Managerial appointment

The club would like to announce that no decision or appointment of a permanent manager will take place until after the end of the season.

Chairman Kris Stewart explained that, owing to the number of good applications received, the process has taken longer than had been previously hoped.

Eight candidates were invited to interview and the shortlist has now been narrowed to four, including Nicky English. The second round of interviews are being concluded this week and a decision will be announced on this website as soon as it is known.

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Thursday 06 May 2004
first team news
Reading Town squad named

WITH Andy Sullivan, Simon Bassey and Joe Sheerin still sidelined by injury
and Gavin Bolger suspended, Nicky English has named the following squad for tonight's final home game at TFS-KM against Reading Town:

Matt Martin, Ross Standen, Steve Gibson, Lewis Taylor, Danny Oakins, Matt Everard, Jamie Angell, Paul Quinn, Darren Dobinson, Lee Sidwell, Seb Favata, Gareth Graham, Ryan Gray, Kevin Cooper, Shane Small-King, Jamie Taylor.

Nicky talked about the challenge of two tough games at the end of a long season:
"To be honest, when I was trying to bring Jamie Taylor, Shane Small-King and Ross Standen in to strengthen the squad for the run-in, I was always looking to have the league won by Cove. And we did that. Now, every time we play we are breaking records. We did the double, we have more points than anyone's managed before, Coops broke the scoring record - now there's just one record left and that's staying unbeaten for a whole season over 46 games. If we can do that, it won't ever be beaten in my opinion.

"But there are two hard games left. We know all about Wallingford and how well they played against us last time, so Saturday will be very difficult. And we may have beaten Reading at their place, but they've gone on a great run since then, picked up a lot and are playing with a lot of confidence. Both of them will be desperate to stop us getting that record.

"If we'd lost already this season, I don't think the pressure would be on these games as much. But, the boys are all winners and everyone wants to finish the season off unbeaten. There's a lot of tired legs, because there's a lot of football been played. By this stage, obviously people start to think about the end of the season and having a break, so it's important to make one big last effort and stay focused.

"Everyone is still a bit uncertain about the managerial situation as well - we know that won't be resolved until after the end of the season, but I've tried to make that work for us as it keeps everyone on their toes. We look to make the best out of that situation as everyone is playing with half an eye on impressing for next year."

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