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JONES PREPARED FOR 'TOUGH' AFC WIMBLEDON TEST

12 February 2016

Jones has won both away games since becoming Town manager

Manager Nathan Jones expects his side to respond to last week’s victory at Wycombe with another solid performance when they travel to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

The Town prevailed with a 1-0 victory at Adams Park, impressing for large periods of the game despite having an off-colour opening half hour.

Now Jones is hoping for a replication of that second-half display, as he prepares for a tricky trip to the Cherry Red Records Stadium to face a Dons team four points above the Hatters.

“Wimbledon are a decent side, they have a real threat about them,” said Jones.

“They have a young, proactive manager in Neal Ardley who I know well, and it will be a very difficult test away from home on a tight ground.

“They’ve got four front men with pace and potency, and if two aren’t doing it they can bring two more on. They had a free week last week with the game being called off, so they’ll have that freshness about them and we're expecting that tough test.

“But I’m envisaging a response from us with the form we’re in and we’re looking forward to the game with our amazing fans there too.”

The Town currently sit 14th in League 2, but with just eight points separating the Hatters and seventh-placed Leyton Orient, the manager is confident that a higher league position can develop over time.

Despite the improvements, Jones, who already has three clean sheets from his first five games at the helm, believes his side can reach bigger and better performances, starting with Saturday’s trip to south London.

“Hopefully those errors are being cut out – wins are built on tight defences,” he continued.

“I’d rather win 2-0 than 5-4 – it shows that we are doing things right at both ends. I singled out Craig [Mackail-Smith] for being outstanding last week, but we need that every week from our players, that’s what contributes to keeping scores down and getting clean sheets. 

“We have that quality in the side going forward, and if we get both together then we’ll obviously win the game. We’re in a decent place, we want to be further up the league, but that’s a process and only time can do that.

“We knew it would be very difficult [at Wycombe], but we’re happy and we have to do it all again. I actually want us to be better than we were, we’ve had another week training, learnt the lessons from the things we didn't do quite so well and we’re looking forward to implementing that.

“I want to see better, to be honest, but it was a real good platform. I thought for 60 minutes we were there. The first 30 we weren’t, and we got away with a few things. Looking back, it wasn’t as bad as I thought but it felt bad.

“We had that bravery in us, scored a good goal and got in the game. In the second half I thought we were very good for the win, managed the game very well, but we want to build on that because I want us to get better.

“It will be a tough game at Wimbledon, but one that we’re looking forward to.”

The manager confirmed that Danny Green, who’s missed the last four games with an ankle injury, could return to the fore for the Dons trip, while Josh McQuoid and Nathan Doyle remain sidelined.

“Danny has trained, so we’re seeing where he is. We picked up a couple of knocks last weekend which took a toll on training this week, but hopefully we’ll have a good strong squad to pick from. 

“Josh and Nathan are the ones that are not near this week, it’s going to be a little bit of time for them as they’re recovering, both making very good progress but it will be a similar time.

“We’ll get them back sooner rather than later, but it’s too soon at the minute.”

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