Johnny Moore asks Dan Marsh from The South London Press to run the rule over AFC Wimbledon
Q: Given last season’s finish of 20th in League One, were the side expecting better things from the current campaign?
A: I think avoiding relegation would still have been the aim this year. The club have just completed their move back to Plough Lane and the view is that can help them kick on and perhaps be a bit more competitive at this level with the extra revenue the stadium can bring – but that’s obviously something which has been knocked off course with the ongoing pandemic.
Q: Is manager Glyn Hodges hopeful that the club can avoid another relegation battle?
A: Glyn said himself after the 4-4 draw with Plymouth back in September that he had higher aspirations than just a fight for survival at this level each year.
The Dons made their best ever start to a campaign at this level too, but they are in the middle of a pretty dire run at the moment, with a leaky defence playing it’s part. But from what I’ve seen this year, I still think they can avoid a relegation scrap come May.
Q: How unfortunate is it that the club fulfilled their dream of returning home, only for games to be played behind closed doors?
A: It’s a real kick in the teeth, especially when you consider how instrumental the fans have been in making that return back to Merton possible. Hopefully that day will come around sooner rather than later.
Q: Who are the in-form players likely to pose Pompey problems this evening?
A: Joe Pigott has been the star man without a doubt. His return of 12 goals and four assists is up there with the best in League One – the club will be desperate to keep hold of him in January.
I’d say Ryan Longman, on loan from Brighton, has also made a strong impression up alongside Pigott. His direct style has defences on edge and they make a nice combination up front.
Q: Will it benefit the Dons to play at an empty Fratton Park or would they rather have the ground packed with spectators?
A: I think playing at a stadium like Fratton Park without spectators would suit anyone in League One – anyone who says otherwise would probably be lying!
I think home advantage goes out of the window to a degree with the current set-up being behind closed doors, so Wimbledon will fancy their chances of coming and playing, and hopefully getting something from the game.