Youthful AFC Wimbledon will be sharp, warns Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill

Steve Cotterill admits Shrewsbury Town are braced for energetic visitors in AFC Wimbledon tomorrow – and warned his side to switch on from set-pieces.

Steve Cotterill the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town applauds the Shrewsbury Town supporters at full time.
Steve Cotterill the head coach / manager of Shrewsbury Town applauds the Shrewsbury Town supporters at full time.

Wimbledon head to Shropshire on the back of their 3-0 Carabao Cup defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday night where Mark Robinson’s youthful Dons held their own for spells.

Robinson, formerly head of the Dons’ youth set-up, took over the top job in February and has the Plough Lane men up in seventh at the early point of the League One season.

In doing so he has one of the youngest squads in the division, having named three of the seven youngest league line-ups this term – 22.4 at the youngest – and Cotterill knows, despite playing less than three days earlier, the visitors will be sharp.

Cotterill said: “They’ve been very good, very energetic, good work ethic, play with good intensity and spirit.”

Town’s Achilles heel on occasion this term has been defending set-pieces, and that reared its head against last weekend at Sheffield Wednesday as the hosts led early on.

“They are very good on set plays, something we’ve got to be good at this weekend, their set plays have been very good,” Cotterill added. “We’ve got to negate that at the weekend.

“We’ve been tapping on to that yesterday and will again today.

“They’ve gone on a high press, that’s what we’ve taken from their style of play.”

Town have not lost in two Montgomery Waters Meadow league games after taking four points against Gillingham and Crewe. Cotterill’s men welcome Wimbledon and Wycombe on Saturday and Tuesday.

“Of course,” the boss said of recording victories in front of a home crowd. “We wanted to do that from the first game of the season.

“There are things we’ve been through, without opening up too much, that we could’ve done better in games.

“But the one thing we’ve done already is got a win at home early in the season, last year it took until December 28, Blackpool – so let’s say based on last year we’re a little bit ahead of schedule.”

Striker Rekeil Pyke returned to training yesterday after isolating for 10 days.

Cotterill added: “The season’s still in its infancy, really, it hasn’t mapped out yet – hopefully it hasn’t mapped out yet anyway, how the league is starting to form.

“Teams could’ve played others at the right time or the wrong time or whatever. You could look the other side and say look at the bigger clubs down the bottom.

“When you get a chance to take your points then take your points, because if you look at last weekend (at Sheffield Wednesday), we would’ve been a coupon-buster.”

“If you end up with a team going forward, creating and scoring goals, you’re going to end up conceding one.

“I don’t think there’s too much to worry about, I would rather have the scenario where you think you’ve got to lock the back door than you’re thinking ‘oh my god, how are we going to open the front door?’

“They’ve done very well, the players know each other and Mark (Robinson) has done a fantastic job.”

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