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Ardley is not living in a land of frustration at AFC Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley is not wallowing under the cloud of doom and gloom that has descended over the club following a run of three games without a win.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with 10-man Accrington Stanley at the Cherry Red Records stadium – where Alan Bennett’s late header salvaged a point – was the second successive disappointment against a team at the wrong end of the League Two table, following the 2-0 defeat to Northampton.
An upbeat Ardley believes Dons are a victim of their own success, and are having to learn quickly how to overcome teams who park the bus in south-west London.
Dons now face a double trip north at Morecambe (Saturday) and Hartlepool (Tuesday), before redressing their home form against Oxford United on October 26.
Ardley said: “The Northampton and Accrington games were different to what we have experienced before.
Near miss: Alan Bennett has another "head in hands" moment
“Our home form meant there was an expectation from fans that we would win, but we also had to deal with teams showing us respect.
“They sat back behind 4-5-1 formations, and at this stage in our development we are not good enough to open teams up when they congest their final third of the pitch.”
He added: “It is something both the players and I have to learn to deal with, and we are working hard to develop that part of our game.
“I won’t dress it up. In the first half against Accrington we were horrendous, it was as bad as I have seen us – we did nothing.
“We did not pass the ball, we looked short of confidence and the fans were not happy, and rightly so.”
But while the recent run has seen the Dons drop from third to 11th, Ardley has reasons to remain optimistic.
Results elsewhere have convinced the boss that League Two will be an open competition this term, with few runaway contenders.
He said: “The ironic thing is that there is a lot of doom and gloom around, and fans are saying ‘We’re not that good’.
“But when we played Cheltenham, we were six points off the top of the league, and we’re still only six points off the top because Chesterfield have also picked up one point in nine.
“Rather than be all doom and gloom, I look at it and think ‘This is the league we’re in’.
“Chesterfield are the best team in it, and they have picked up one point in nine – it can happen to anyone.
“Come the end of the season, Chesterfield and Fleetwood will be thereabouts, but any team from third to 15th has a good shout too.”
Ardley is hopeful of having Charlie Sheringham back in training by the end of this week, while Kevin Sainte Luce’s steady return is continuing with time in the U21s.
However, injured Will Antwi (back) and Andy Frampton (hip) remain unlikely to feature this weekend.
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