By Richard Cawley
Dominic Poleon faces AFC Wimbledon tomorrow and insists he had no desire to leave the South London club in the summer.
The 24-year-old’s one season with the Dons saw him net 13 goals – his highest total as a professional – before he joined Bradford City for an undisclosed sum at the end of June.
“I didn’t push for any move,” said Poleon. “I was more than happy at Wimbledon. It was a bit of a shock to myself.
“When I heard there were teams interested I had a word with the manager and asked where he saw me in his plans next season.
“He kind of said that with the players he was bringing in that the Dom Poleon of last season would struggle to be in that team. Wow. The Dom Poleon of last season was second-top goalscorer. I only missed out on being top by one goal and my minutes to goals ratio was good.
“I thought I did pretty well considering the amount of games I started so to hear that was disappointing. I scored some important goals and was part of a team doing really well, we were around the top six after winning at Charlton. So it left a kind of funny taste in the mouth. Once the interest from Bradford came to fruition it was a bit of a no-brainer to leave.
“Not meaning any disrespect, but the ones who have been brought in don’t make me feel like I’d have been out of my depth.”
Poleon bagged four goals in his first seven games for Bradford but has hit the back of the net just twice since September 9.
He has only recently returned from a hamstring injury which kept him out over the Christmas period.
When asked if he will have extra motivation as the Dons head to Valley Parade, Poleon said: “Yes and no. You take it [leaving] on the chin, because there is nothing you can do about it. Football is a game of opinions, you can’t get too down about it or too riled up.
“You have got to forget comments when you left. Those things don’t really make a difference when you are out there.
“I’ll celebrate if I score. I celebrate every goal. That’s no disrespect to the fans, they were great to me. They were class – home and away.”
Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley says it is standard procedure to carry out individual reviews with his squad at the end of a season.
“Dom wouldn’t have got anything different to other players, in as far as I would have pushed Barry Fuller or Paul Robinson to up their games.
“It was an inconsistent season. I wouldn’t guarantee anybody a starting berth. We’d look at things people can do to improve. That goes for everybody.
“We also have mid-season reviews. There is no point blowing smoke up their backsides.
“Dom was keen on the move. We weighed it all up and we got money and freed up his wages, there were a couple of things we were trying to do to take the team forward.
“As managers you can’t always guarantee you will get that right. You can look now at the lack of goals but you can’t predict Kwesi [Appiah] is going to get injured.”
Wimbledon are up to 19th in the League One table and aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in the competition to five games. The Bantams have lost three straight, four if including the FA Cup.
“They maybe lack a bit of confidence in the last few weeks and we’re the opposite,” said Ardley. “We’re feeling a little bit better about ourselves.
“The pitch there isn’t in the greatest condition. We have to focus on all the things we have to do for us to get a result, if we don’t do our thing then it doesn’t matter what form Bradford are in.
“We believed we weren’t a million miles away despite the negativity. The reports from other independent people indicated we were quite high up in the league for various things. We knew we were forwards away from getting something.
“Cody McDonald and Lyle Taylor have come through now and with the addition of Joe Pigott we feel the base of the team is fairly decent.
“Our defensive stability has always been there.”