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Dons boss Ardley: It's all about getting to 50 points
AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley will not be looking at the League Two table, despite it showing his team five points clear of the drop zone.
Back-to-back wins over York City and Southend United have lifted the Dons to 18th – their highest league position since September – and given Ardley’s men some breathing space ahead of six-pointers at Aldershot on Saturday and Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
The double win came on the back of a disappointing performance and defeat at Cheltenham at the start of March, and was the reaction Ardley was looking for.
But, despite the maximum points and a record of just three defeats in 14 since the beginning of the year, Ardley is keeping a level head.
He said: “The York win was as big as they come. Neil [Cox] and I said before this run of fixtures that if we didn’t get a win at home to York then it will be awfully tough.
“That win spiralled into the Southend game and, while the pressure is not off us, it does set us up nicely for the next two games.
“I have not looked at the table. I didn’t look at it when we were bottom, and I’m not going to look at it now we’re not bottom.
“I just look at how many points we’ve got. We’ve got 42 – ok, we need eight more to reach that 50 mark.”
The Dons’ form since Christmas – culminating in goals from Pim Balkestein, Jack Midson and Luke Moore in Tuesday’s 3-1 win in Essex – is a far cry from when Ardley took over the reins in October and watched over just two wins in 12 league games.
Since October, an influx of loan signings saw Ardley through to the January transfer window and the chance to begin altering the squad.
He said: “When I arrived, I was only dealing with the hand I was dealt, and that was 10 people on the injury table.
“I had to bring in as many loans as I could to get us through to January and stay in touch as best we could.
“Then we had to try and recruit as best we could in January. We wanted to improve the character of the team so we brought in two club captains.
“We brought in Harry Pell, who is a character in his own right, full of confidence.”
Ardley is considering extending the loans of Brennan Dickenson and Jesse Darko, but he is without Blakestein (hamstring), and could be missing Jonathan Meades, as he has been called up to the Wales U20s squad, while new signing Kelly Youga has been called up by the Central African Republic national team.