"Remember you’re a Womble, remember you’re a Womble,
Remember-member-member what a Womble Womble Womble you are"
(Another Mike Batt song accompanying the Womble popularity long ago)
We welcome Wally Downes’ AFC Wimbledon side for a game that we must, must, MUST win if our inexorable plummet down the League One table is to be arrested. Both clubs have struggled since those heady days back in August when we won the corresponding away fixture 1-3, with goals from Kieron Morris, Nightingale (o.g.) and some guy called Steve Cook (according to the Press Association report). Downes was only appointed in December, and his win ratio of 50% in League One games has been augmented by reaching the 5th round of the F.A. Cup - disposing of West Ham in the 4th round. There is a tenuous connection in the playing staff - Rod McDonald is the son of the ex-Saddler of the same name. The current form of the Wombles looks like this:-
1 Jan Portsmouth (A) Lost 2-1
12 Jan Coventry City (A) Drew 1-1
19 Jan Barnsley (H) Lost 1-4
22 Jan Fleetwood Town (H) Lost 0-3
2 Feb Sunderland (A) Lost 1-0
9 Feb Burton Albion (H) Lost 0-2
AFC Wimbledon’s position at the foot of the League One table (by 9 clear points) looks like a lost cause, but it’s interesting to note that we’ve actually conceded one more goal than they have! Scoring, or lack of it, seems to be their downfall, with only 22 netted in their 31 games - and yet they put 4 goals past West Ham…
We, of course, have problems in both scoring and conceding. Dean Keates has been ringing the changes since last month’s transfer window acquisitions, but apart from what appears to have been a freak result at Gillingham there has been no apparent improvement in the area that matters - the field of play. There are now so many permutations available to the manager that it’s a bit pointless trying to predict the results of his tactical selection for the match.
Prediction? As stated, this is a MUST WIN fixture, and it is to be hoped that whichever starting XI takes the field they will be suitably motivated to get a precious 3 points. This could well end up being a scrappy encounter, and a scrappy 1-0 home win should at least keep our manager still in charge (temporarily?). A goal from young Oteh please, assist from Devlin.