AFC Wimbledon boss on key thing to stop Charlton Athletic performing

By Richard Cawley

AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley reckons the trick to stopping Charlton is nullifying their attacking trio who play behind Josh Magennis.

The Addicks have a number of options in those positions despite the recent hamstring injury for on-loan Arsenal attacker Stephy Mavididi.

Mark Marshall, Ben Reeves, Sullay Kaikai and Tariqe Fosu are all competing for starting spots.

Wimbledon were denied a decent point in SE7 earlier this season when Ricky Holmes’ free-kick goal settled a tight contest. The reverse fixture takes place on Saturday.

“They got some lads who when they are on fire then Charlton play well,” said Ardley. “They have got good players at this level.

“I know they lost Ricky Holmes in January but they made some decent signings, like the lad from Arsenal.

“Those three behind the strikers are the ones you have to stop.”

Ardley was heading up Cardiff City’s academy when Magennis was on the Welsh club’s books – switching him from a goalkeeper to a striker.

The bustling forward had gone on to earn senior international recognition with Northern Ireland.

“People said I was mad,” said Ardley when asked about the positional change. “It’s quite a nice story. Every time I see him now at games he comes up, gives me a big hug and talks about what I did for him.

“It was clear he was not quite going to get a contract as a goalkeeper. Things worked out well. He has scored a lot of goals and is a handful.

“He will cause anyone a problem in the box. Josh is quick, strong, direct and good in the air.”

Ardley is hoping to get central defender Darius Charles back from a hip injury for the match. He was again missing as Wimbledon went down 3-0 at home to League One leaders Blackburn on Tuesday night. Right-back Barry Fuller limped off at the end, meaning their might need to be another defensive reshuffle against Karl Robinson’s side.

Ardley said: “We’ll get him [Fuller] under ice to try and get him back. We’ll see if we can get Darius back as well.”

Ardley was critical of his side for a lack of intensity on Tuesday, stating afterwards “six or seven of our regular players who play well, didn’t. They didn’t turn up and perform.

He added: “I told the players how I feel. I told them I didn’t feel we’d had enough of a go [against Blackburn]. But we’ve also got to stick together. I’m allowed to tell them my feelings, I’m allowed to come out here [to face the media] and be honest and I will be. I don’t hide from that.”

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