Ardley will keep the purse shut, until he knows what he wants

Dons' new supremo Ardley faces a testing time

Time on his hands: Neal Ardley says he will take his time in assessing his squad, and then make a decision on what needs to be done SP70799

Not a good start: Cheltenham celebrate their second goal, which effectively sealed the Dons' fate SP70799

First published in Sport

The new AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley is asking for patience from the Dons fans because he will not dive "two-footed" into making rash signings.

On the back of a 2-1 League Two defeat to Cheltenham at Kingsmeadow on Saturday, Ardley's new men were put through double training sessions this week as Ardley begins to instill his philosophies on the team, and the former Dons midfielder will also use the next few weeks to sort the wheat from the chaff.

But for now every player has the chance to impress the new management team, and only when Ardley has decided on which areas need attention to enable the team to play in the style he wants, will he approach the board with a view to bringing players in.

Ardley said: "When you start guessing which players you want to bring in before you have even assessed the squad, it is not a good plan. You might not know what your weak points are. It is important to ask yourself: how do I want to play, where are we in relation to that and what sort of players and characters do we need to do that. You then assess the squad to work out if you have the players you need.

"If you're on a limited budget, it is pointless jumping two-footed into it and spending the club's money on players that are not going to make a big difference."

He added: "Assessment is main criteria right now, but slowly and surely we'll get some games on to give the fringe players a chance and assess the squad in the next two or three weeks so we can sit down with the board and say this is where we think we're strongest, this is where we think we're weak, this is what we think we need to do to get us out of this mess.

"I hope the fans will stick with us during this time, I've always said that nothing will change dramatically in one week.

Simon Bassey picked the team for the Cheltenham match, which was missing only Sammy Moore from the win at Plymouth Argyle. Byron Harrison scored the Dons' consolation goal in the dying minutes of Saturday's defeat, and he almost grabbed an unlikely equaliser with a last-gasp header that scraped the woodwork.

However, despite the defeat Ardley was in positive mood. He said: "We created a lot of chances and if you grab a goal at the right time it can change the whole complex of a game. But we didn't do that and Cheltenham did. But from what I've read about previous games, Saturday was a very similar scenario to before. 

"Saturday was difficult for me, it didn't feel like my team. I was on the bench in name and body only. Other than giving encouragement and getting the boys to be a bit braver, it was hard to talk about specifics because they would not understand what I was saying as we hadn't worked on any of it."

Sammy Moore is still doubtful for the trip to Fleetwood on Saturday, while Pim Balkestein and Mat Mitchel-King remain on the treatment table.

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