Dons manager has a brave message for his League Two rivals - This is the best Dons squad we’ve ever had

Strong arm of the Dons: Dannie Bulman, right, and Matt Tubbs give goal celebrations a new name against the Shrews              SP81999

Strong arm of the Dons: Dannie Bulman, right, and Matt Tubbs give goal celebrations a new name against the Shrews SP81999

First published in Football by

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley has issued a warning to his League Two rivals, claiming his current crop of players is the best the club has ever had.

The Dons drew their opening fixture of the season 2-2 at the Cherry Red Records stadium against league newcomers Shrewsbury Town, with their starting line-up featuring no fewer than seven new faces, including scorers Sean Rigg and Matt Tubbs.

The latter was the top summer target for Ardley and was persuaded to join the Dons despite having offers from the Championship and League One.

Ardley said: “It was two months of solid hard work over the summer to get him.

“I threw everything bar the kitchen sink at it – if Tubbsy doesn’t feel wanted now he never will.”

Another new recruit who made his debut in the league opener was 16 stone striker Adebayo Akinfenwa.

“I hope people will see that Bayo [Akinfenwa] isn’t a battering ram, he’s a clever football player.

“I see it every day in training, his link up play, his vision, the way he brings players into the game – he’s exceptional.”

Ardley added: “We’ve got a group of players who have great attitude, hunger and a good amount of experience.

“It’s probably the best team Wimbledon has ever had on paper – I’ve got to make sure that on grass it shows.”

Despite a strengthened squad, the Dons’ boss remains realistic about his expectations for the new campaign.

“My aim is to get promoted, the fans wouldn’t expect anything less,” he said.

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