AFC Wimbledon midfielder Stacy Long says it is the fighting spirit that you cannot teach that will help the Dons turn their League Two nightmare around.

The 27-year-old is slowly becoming  a permanent fixture in Neal Ardley’s midfield, and the combatitive Long has responded with two goals in six games.

However, following the 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham on Saturday, the Dons remain a single point above the drop zone.

Long said: “We were unlucky against Rotherham, I thought we played well in the first half. We did not come out as well in the second half but overall, we deserved at least a point, if not more.

“We had some chances that if we’d taken would have changed the game.”

After a hectic period of mid-week games in November,  Ardley has had little time on the training pitch to work on the defensive frailties that have plagued the Dons.

However, according to Long, that has changed.

“We’ve had good time on the training pitch since the end of November and it has shown. We’re tighter at the back, and the more we work on it, the better it will be.

“But we are in a dogfight. We need to have that passion and spirit to fight for all the points we can. That is something you cannot teach and the fact we already have that is a positive.

“I relish that fight, and I know the 11 guys on the pitch, the guys the bench and the management relish that fight too.”

Ardley welcomes Christian Jolley back from his loan spell at Newport County where he scored five goals in five games.

And there was more good news when long-term injury-absentee Jason Prior came through an hour in the 1-0 Surrey Senior Cup on Tuesday night.

However, Steven Gregory has played his last game for the Dons and has returned to AFC Bournemouth.

Dons travel to second-placed Port Vale tomorrow (Saturday).