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Preview: AFC Wimbledon

3 December 2021

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It's a visit to AFC Wimbledon's brand new Cherry Red Records Stadium at Plough Lane for Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup second round on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm).

The Robins will be aiming to make it a first successful visit to Wimbledon's impressive new home by booking a place in the third round of the competition.

The third round is the stage when Premier League and Championship sides enter, so League One foes Cheltenham and Wimbledon will be going head-to-head knowing what is potentially at stake for the successful side.

It is the first of three contests between the two clubs this season and there's a huge amount to play for in a competition that proved to be very special to the Robins last season.

Team news

Defender Charlie Raglan (pictured) is expected to be back involved in the squad. The 28-year-old hasn't featured due to injury since the end of September.

Elsewhere in the squad though Lewis Freestone, Conor Thomas, Will Boyle, Matty Blair and Taylor Perry are expected to be all out with injury problems.

Media talk

AFC Wimbledon's threat from set pieces is something to watch out for in the eyes of boss Michael Duff.

He told the media: "We've had tough away draws in all cups so we've got one more to get through and then there's the possibility. We are away to another League One team which is as difficult as it gets.

"They're a threat. It shows you their togetherness that they keep coming back.

"They're a threat from set plays so they are never out of the game. They are top in our League for goals from set plays.

"They've got a definite way of playing. A definite 4-2-3-1 in pretty much every game they've played."

Watch his full press conference by watching on iFollow where you can also see Chris Hussey previewing the game against his former club.

Opposition

One of the club's in the English football pyramid best known for developing their own talent, AFC Wimbledon boast a number of young players in their ranks who have seen them up to 17th in League One this term.

When it comes to the FA Cup they reached this stage with a 1-0 win against National League North opponents in the shape of Guiseley.

Their young side is balanced out with useful experience brought by the likes of 28-year-old defender Ben Heneghan, skipper Alex Woodyard - a former teammate of Robins captain Sean Long from their time together at Braintree Town and Lincoln City, and strongly built centre forward Ollie Palmer.

Ex-Chelsea youngster Luke McCormick adds good quality to a team where many have progressed through the youth ranks from Jack Rudoni, to Ayoub Assal and defender Paul Osew.

Since they were reformed in 2004, Wimbledon's best FA Cup performance came during the 2018/19 campaign when they reached the fifth round. Historically the original Wimbledon club won the competition in 1988 thanks to Lawrie Sanchez's goal in the final against Liverpool. That day they were managed by Bobby Gould who 15 years later would manage the Robins.

The manager: Mark Robinson

Less than a month after taking temporary charge in February 2021, Mark Robinson was made permanent manager at AFC Wimbledon - a club he had first joined in its youth department in 2004.

It's his first managerial role having worked predominantly in development and youth football.

He is assisted by another coach who has worked their way up through the Wimbledon academy in the shape of Rob Tuvey.

Tickets & travel

Supporters can purchase tickets on the day at AFC Wimbledon from 1.30pm. They are priced at £15 for adults, £10 for seniors (65+), £10 for full-time students and £3 for under-18s.

For fans who have bought from the Cheltenham ticket office but not collected their tickets, you can collect these from the away turnstiles on the day.

If you are booked on the Travel Club coach it will be leaving from the Jonny-Rocks Stadium at 10.30am.

AFC Wimbledon have advised driving to the stadium as there is no parking available. The nearest stations are Wimbledon Park (District Line), Haydons Road (Thameslink and Southern from Blackfriars or London Bridge) and Tooting Broadway (Northern Line).

Coverage

Social media: Stay up to date with events at the Cherry Red Records Stadium by following @CTFCofficial on Twitter. You can also cast an eye on the latest score and team news on Facebook and Instagram.

Website: Read the match report after the game on the club website where you'll also be able to watch the post-match press conference.

Radio: Listen to match commentary on iFollow with an audio match pass. It's on sale for £2.50 and you can subscribe online.

Highlights: Watch the action from the game on Sunday at 7pm with the highlights show on BBC Four.


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