AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley has warned his players there is no room for a drop in standards as competition for places hots up.
After last weekend’s 0-0 League Two draw at Fleetwood Town, Ardley welcomes York City to the Cherry Red Records stadium on Saturday knowing no one is guaranteed a starting place.
Dons are unbeaten in two games, and with leaders Chesterfield the visitors on Tuesday night, Ardley is determined to make it a treble over York this weekend.
Aaron Morris and Alan Bennett could make a return in defence, while Peter Sweeney and Andy Frampton were due to continue their comeback in the Wednesday night’s London County Cup tie against Cray Wanderers.
Ardley said: “Come Saturday, we could have quality players who are fit and ready, but who are not in the squad because they played on Wednesday.
“The other players know that, and they are starting to work out that the only time they can impress is on the training pitch.
“By evolution, there are players who may have considered themselves starters earlier in the season, now they are looking at the players we’ve brought in and they are asking themselves: ‘How am I going to get into this team?’”
He added: “That is very good for me. Whereas before players may have stayed in the team because we did not have more in those positions, I’d like to think that the players go into training thinking: ‘If I don’t impress now, I won’t be in the squad on Saturday’.
“I’d also like to think that players who are in the team are saying: ‘If I don’t put in a shift, it will be my last chance and I won’t get back in for a long time.’
“There is no room for standards to drop, standards I have been trying to drive all season, but unfortunately without the squad to carry it through.”
Last time out: Dons were 2-0 winners at York City when the teams met in September
York City are the visitors this weekend, and despite turning them over 2-0 in September, Ardley remains wary of the reinvigorated Minstermen.
“When we beat them at their place it was earlier in the season, and they are a lot better outfit now,” he said.
“They’re five games unbeaten, they have done some decent recruitment and gone from the bottom up to about 11th in the table.”