With McCallum back on board, Dons are gunning for the league leaders
AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley is gunning for victory over League Two leaders Port Vale tonight having secured the services of hitman Paul McCallum for another month.
The Valiants come to Kingsmeadow having lost only two games on the road this season, while their nine away wins include toppling former leaders Gillingham two weeks’ ago.
On the flipside, Ardley’s men have won only two of their 13 home games – the last being a 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers in October.
However, Ardley has been boosted by Rashid Yussuff’s return to training and is hoping the presence of the Sky cameras tonight will inspire his charges to extend their unbeaten run to four games.
“Micky Adams has Port Vale playing incredibly well and they are top of the table for a reason,” Ardley said.
“They work very hard and it is tough to break them down. We need to start strongly otherwise they will punish you early on – like they did to Gillingham – and then you’re chasing the game.”
He added: “But we’re in front of the live cameras, against the league leaders and we’re on a run, so if we cannot get ourselves up for that, then we need shooting.”
Despite the postponement of last weekend’s trip to Accrington Stanley, Ardley got some good news when West Ham United agreed to extend the loan of McCallum’s loan period.
“There were a number of things we wanted to get sorted and Paul’s loan was one of them, so it is brilliant to have it arranged,” Ardley said.
“West Ham are happy and we’re happy. Come the end of the month, we’ll have another look at the situation.
“Paul has been great for us and hopefully his presence will give us the momentum to continue our recent good performances.”
Goalkeeper Seb Brown is still waiting on his future having been told by Ardley that he needs to get out on loan and play football.
Ardley said: “Seb is working hard, but he needs match time. Whether he goes out or not is in his and his agent’s hands – if he doesn’t go out, then he’ll stay with us and continue to learn from Neil [Sullivan].”
Whether tonight’s game gets the go-ahead remains in the balance, although it won’t be for the lack of trying as dozens of volunteers turned out to clear the pitch of snow.
Ardley, who also picked up a shovel to help in the clearance, said: “The pitch has been well insulated under the snow, so the guys here are confident it will go ahead.
“But those who have come down have helped clear the snow have been brilliant, it really sums up the club and its fans.”