AFC Wimbledon v Shrewsbury Town: Sam Ricketts wary of lowly hosts Dons
Sam Ricketts is not fooled by AFC Wimbledon’s slow start and is just as wary of tomorrow’s opposition as he was of Portsmouth or Ipswich.
Town end their League One hiatus due to the international break with a trip to the winless Cherry Red Records Stadium side.
The Dons are third bottom, better off than only Bolton and Southend – who visit Shrewsbury on Tuesday – with two points from their first seven matches.
But, after studying the performances of Wally Downes’ side, Ricketts has concluded that the hosts are dangerous opposition and have shown, in flashes, they can perform against the league’s top sides.
The Dons have only lost by more than the odd goal once this term, and that was a 3-1 defeat at Sunderland. Downes’ men led at Ipswich until conceding twice in the final 10 minutes.
Shrewsbury, who could hand debuts to Callum Lang and Jason Cummings, beat big-hitters Portsmouth 1-0 on the opening day, but were comprehensively beaten at Ipswich last time out.
“There’s no easy games in this league,” Ricketts said. “I don’t think you can bank on turning up and beating anyone, apart from, unfortunately, when Bolton were playing their youth team – which I don’t mean that detrimentally, but that was the only one.
“You have to earn the right. It’s just as difficult to play Wimbledon as it is to play a number of the sides towards the top.
“You have to put in as much concentration in this as when we played Portsmouth in the first game of the season. They’re capable, in every game they’ve played they’ve not been a million miles away. It’s not like they are getting blown away every week.”
Ricketts, whose side are 14th, have Ollie Norburn and Ro-Shaun Williams back from injury and in contention to feature.
The Town boss expects a never-say-die approach from the hosts, who still very much relate to the tough Crazy Gang image of yesteryear.
“They’re a team that never know when they are beat or down, typified by their form in the second half of last season. It was a very, very good achievement the way they stayed up,” Ricketts said.
“They will never give up, high energy, work really hard and have been in all of their games. I don’t look at it as being favourites. I look at how we can hurt the teams while being solid and capitalise on their weaknesses.”
Shrewsbury Town (3-5-2): O'Leary; Williams, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre; Love, Laurent, Goss, Edwards (c), Giles; Morison, Lang.
Subs: Murphy (gk), Golbourne, Beckles, Norburn, McCormick, Udoh, Cummings.
The opposition: Wimbledon still a test
AFC Wimbledon are winless so far this season with five defeats from their opening seven league games.
The Dons remarkably staved off relegation under former hero Wally Downes last season with a run of just one defeat in 12 – albeit six were draws – to finish the season three goals better off than relegated Plymouth.
There was hope that, given Downes had injected some organisation and life into the Kingsmeadow side last term, they could hit the ground running this season.
Though the defensive losses of Toby Sibbick and Deji Oshilaja over the summer are tough acts to replace.
Downes has to work on a tight budget in south west London and brought just four permanent deals in this summer – two from Gillingham and the other pair from Cardiff Met University and Metropolitan Police.
The Dons will always be hampered by the budget in League One but managed a goalless draw in their previous home league game with leaders Wycombe.
They have ran heavyweights Rotherham and Ipswich close – the latter they led until a late turnaround. A 3-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light, the hosts inspired by Chris Maguire’s hat-trick, is their heaviest defeat. They will be a tough nut to crack.