Wally Downes: Dons should gain belief from way they played against Sunderland


Wally Downes says his team should draw strength from the way they gave Sunderland a run for their money last weekend – even if they left the north-east frustrated by their 1-0 defeat.

The Dons were desperately unlucky not to return with at least a point from the Stadium of Light, but Aiden McGready’s goal midway through the second half settled the outcome.

“The players were more angry than I was after the match,” Wimbledon manager Downes told the South London Press.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of it, but I was pleased with the performance. We matched them and it took a bit of Premier League skill to do us.

“If you don’t take your chances against these bigger clubs, they have players who are going to punish you.”

The Dons must dust themselves off and try again to kick-start their bid to claw their way up the table – starting with the visit of Nigel Clough’s League Cup semi-finalists Burton Albion tomorrow, before a trip to Walsall on Tuesday night.

“I’ve been up against Cloughie [Nigel Clough] many times and you know what you are going to get from his side,” said Downes. “There are no surprises and it’s how we react and match up to it that counts.

“Burton are patient and keep the ball, so we have to keep our shape and impose our style.

“The fans have been brilliant in recent games and they can drive us on again.”

The Dons, now nine points from safety, crashed 3-0 at the Pirelli Stadium when the sides met in September.

Dylan Connolly (pictured) picked up an ankle knock at Sunderland but is expected to be available for selection this weekend.

Photos by Paul Edwards