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Club News

The inside track on AFC Wimbledon

12 August 2022

Club News

The inside track on AFC Wimbledon

12 August 2022

Rovers are on the road this weekend when they face AFC Wimbledon in Sky Bet League Two.

Gary McSheffrey’s side have taken four points from a possible six in their opening two league games following the dramatic late comeback against Sutton United last time out.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents.

Manager:

Johnnie Jackson was named as the Dons manager this summer after leaving Sky Bet League One side Charlton Athletic at the end of last season.

Jackson succeeded Mark Bowen in the role after he was unable to keep Wimbledon in the third tier last season.

The 39-year-old was handed the Charlton job on a permanent basis in December 2021 after an impressive second stint as caretaker manager.

He has signed six players since his appointment at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, including the experience pair of Chris Gunter and Alex Pearce.

Start to the season:

Wimbledon got the campaign off to a flying start, beating Gillingham 2-0 at home on the opening day. Ethan Chislett put the Dons a goal up with a quarter-of-an-hour gone, before Jack Currie sealed the win 19 minutes from time.

They backed that up with a goalless draw against Hartlepool United, in what was a cagey affair at Victoria Park.

Key men:

Chris Gunter joined Wimbledon in the summer after his contract with Charlton Athletic came to an end. An experienced defender, he became the first ever Welshman to earn 100 caps for his country in 2021, beating Neville Southall’s previous record of 92 three years early.

Gunter began his club career with Cardiff City in 2006, and after two years with the Bluebirds he was snapped up by Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur for a fee totalling £2million. He made 16 first team appearances at White Hart Lane before a loan move to Nottingham Forest was made permanent in 2009.

He established himself as one of the best full backs outside the top flight, and was equally as comfortable on the right or left side of defence. He spent three full seasons at the City Ground with Reading his next club. His spell at the Madejski was the best of his career so far. He had eight successful years with the Royals which included promotion to the Premier League. Still only 33, he has 581 career games under his belt with the milestone of 600 not too far away.

Ethan Chislett has fought his way up from Non League to become a key component within the Dons’ starting XI.

Born in South Africa, It was the 2019-20 campaign with Aldershot Town where he started to attract interest. Nine goals in 31 starts from midfield persuaded Wimbledon to sign him.

The 24-year-old had to be patient and his record shows that he has come off the bench in more games than he has started in the past two years, but he has started the current campaign well and scored on the opening day of the campaign to get his side off to the best possible start with a 2-0 victory over Gillingham.

Ayoub Assal has been a real find for AFC Wimbledon after initially making his first team debut in an EFL Trophy tie against Southend United at the age of 17 in 2019. 

He continued his progression the season after and scored his first league goal in an away game at Shrewsbury, adding a further three to his tally before the end of the campaign. Last season was his best so far in front of goal, he reached double figures for the first time in his young career, including a strike against Rovers on the opening day.

Having lost strike partner Jack Rudoni to Sky Bet Championship side Huddersfield Town this summer, many Dons fans will be pleased to still have Assal in the building as they look for an immediate return to League One.

Last meeting:

The two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw when they last met at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in March. Wimbledon found themselves two goals to the good with goals from Jack Rudoni and Luke McCormick either side of half-time, before two goals in the space of four second half minutes from Tommy Rowe secured a point for Rovers.

Gary McSheffrey’s side could have won the game late on, but Ben Jackson saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line by Lee Brown.


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