As the Crawley game prepares to usurp the Luton game, holder of the ‘Biggest Game Of The Season’ title for all of six days, I have to admit I’ve been completely thrown by playing on a Thursday night. Yes, it’s unusual, but in the same way birds and animals get all confused when there’s an eclipse, I’ve spent the week wondering when to do my laundry and go shopping. While there was no excuse not to do either of those things last night, it just didn’t cross my mind. I’ll do both tonight otherwise I’ll be wearing my pants inside out and scraping mayonnaise on my toast come Friday morning.
It’s the small inconveniences that are the major annoyance of having games moved for tv. Take Sunday for example – I booked for the coach having no idea how I’ll make it to Kingsmeadow for the pick up. There could be engineering works on the train, I could have to get the bus from Dorking… I just have no idea at the moment. Then there’s the small matter of getting up early and home late on a Sunday, before having to get up early in the AM for another week of work… One of the problems with knowing you are leaving a job months in advance is it becomes ten times harder to get up in the morning, you just don’t have the motivation. Under those circumstances a Dons victory becomes all the more important for morale… The other bonus of a Thursday/Sunday combo is it gives us the opportunity for our very own Football League Day – where bored Wombles turn up to assist their local financially struggling League club to sample over priced tickets, poor cuisine and even poorer football.
Before I start to get ahead of myself, first Crawley come to town. I think we are all hoping for a win in front of what will hopefully be a big midweek crowd (which kind of looks like a normal Saturday crowd…). I gave a my thoughts on Crawley and Steve Evans in my WUP column this month – in true O/S style I’ll reproduce it here in full later for those of you who couldn’t pick up a copy. By the way, ensure you pick up your free copy with additional brown paper bag. At least I think it was a bag? Surely it must be an envelope? As I write I have no way of checking which at least allows me to use the joke about it being more suitable if the Crawley manager used to be a corrupt greengrocer.
According to the Surrey Herald (which has overtaken other news sources as the media outlet I bounce off the most) Danny Kedwell has been ‘taunting’ Crawley. Well, not exactly. The paper just got a little excited on their website over Keds reiterating his desire to stay with the Dons. In fact the quotes they use are kind of reminiscent of those he made about two months ago when Crawley first came calling. Far from me to suggest the Herald just rehashed a few quotes from back then in order to fill a bit of space on their website and get a few all important hits from bored Dons fans on their lunch breaks – if so, well done! It worked!
More surprising Kedwell quotes came courtesy of The Daily Mail (yes – THE Daily Mail…) that Dons fans are good fans because (and get this anyone who has ever stood in the John Smiths Stand…) ‘they always praise, never boo’. I think perhaps Keds still has the image of several hundred Dons fans staying to applaud the team off after the 0-3 defeat at Luton stuck in his head… I can certainly remember the side being booed off on more than one occasion last season! Yet there is a point in there somewhere… if the support at Luton was so impressive, if we can provide a level of noise that even half matches that, then at the very least we will have a cracking atmosphere for tomorrow’s game.
Naturally, a lot of this noise will be aimed at the opposition manager, but rather than worry that this will provide some kind of motivation to the visitors, let’s just enjoy it. We rarely seem to have the inclination to the loud at home, but under lights, against a modern rival, in what counts as a derby in this division… we could be set for a memorable evening if all goes to plan.
On to the team, and I think every Dons fan with an eye on our recent history of injuries breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing Lee Minshull will only miss eight weeks. I’m certainly glad Ill see him in a Dons shirt again before I leave, Lee has added strength to the midfield and will be a big loss. Another absentee is Andre Blackman, sitting out a game suspension for five bookings. Chris Bush comes straight in on loan from Brentford as I reported on Monday, which will be a very big ask of him. I’m not sure how long Bush is here on loan, presumably as long as he keeps his place in the team, but it will certainly give Andre something to think about when he returns on Sunday – if he returns on Sunday.
Finally, my predicted line up –
To be honest I think it’s a toss up between Wellard and Toks for the midfield position vacated by Minshull, but apart from that the team picks itself. I did think perhaps Terry might think of adding a bit of experience to the front line alongside Kedwell in the form of the fit again Nwokeji, that would be a real tough call and very unfortunate if either young player misses out. All will be answered tomorrow… and if you enjoyed the experience of being top over the last couple of weeks, just think… beyond being a sweet victory for all sorts of reasons, it could also take us back to the summit, back above Crawley, and just as importantly after Fridays humbling, open up a nice gap between ourselves and Luton once more. Here’s hoping…