AFC Wimbledon manager Neil Ardley looking forward to televised FA Cup clash


The Dons will take on Coventry City


By Neil Quinn

AFC Wimbledon’s staff have been put through their paces as much as their players this week, as the club prepares for its big moment in front of the cameras on Friday night.

The Dons’ first-round FA cup tie at home to League One Coventry City will be televised live on BT Sport, which has led to a rapid overhaul of their Kingsmeadow ground in Kingston.

An extra television gantry has been installed to accommodate the broadcaster, while floodlights have been upgraded to meet the needs of HD output.

Head groundsman Gabor Tanczos and his team have worked tirelessly to ensure the pitch is in excellent condition, despite the heavy downpours over recent weeks.

Neal Ardley’s men go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting 2-1 win at Rochdale last weekend, their first win in seven outings.

Ardley hopes that his team can build on that victory against their more lofty opponents, and form the basis of a strong Cup run.

Ardley said: “If we could come through two or three rounds then it would be a massive boost to us. It could be a bonus and provide help for the club financially.”

The manager is under no illusions as to the size of the task at hand, with the Sky Blues having won four of their last five games, and unbeaten away from home since mid-September.

Ardley added: “We will be big underdogs, but the positive for us is that we will be at home and it is the FA Cup. We have to do it justice.”

Wimbledon’s involvement in last season’s competition was infamously ended by old foes MK Dons, who triumphed 2-1 in the second round thanks to an injury-time winner.

While emulating the Crazy Gang’s 1987 Wembley triumph may be a tall order, the possibility of avenging that painful defeat in rounds to come should be motivation enough on Friday night.

Tickets are still available for the game (7.45pm kick-off), with entry permitted on the night (adults from £15, concessions from £9, under-18s from £4).

Photo courtesy of grahamc99, with thanks.

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