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Dons boss Ardley on 'brave, technical, challenging and energetic' Spurs

06 January 2018|Tottenham Hotspur

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley wants his players to do themselves justice in Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie at Wembley.

The Dons come to the national stadium for what will be our first senior meeting with the phoenix club in their current guise.

Founded by supporters of the old Wimbledon FC in 2002, Ardley’s men have climbed to League One and, during their time in the division below, caused Liverpool a scare at this stage of the FA Cup three years ago, eventually going down 2-1.

Now, they’re looking to do a job on us.

“It's important to us that we give the fans a day that includes us having had a real go,” said Ardley, who played for the original Wimbledon as a midfielder. “Sometimes against Spurs, having a real go will not be pressing them high up the pitch in the corner because they will pick you apart. Having a real go is being diligent to stay in the game, giving the fans that excitement of being one set-piece or chance away from taking the lead or equalising.

“Being in the game is not getting overawed and getting picked off. That is the thing we hope doesn't happen. We want to do ourselves justice. We want to be in the game and give the fans a day when we know they are proud of what the players have tried to do.”

Mauricio Pochettino has hinted at squad rotation in the wake of two Premier League games in 48 hours this week, but Ardley expects a tough test, no matter who takes to the field wearing our badge.

“I don't expect them to play all of their best players,” he said. “I do feel for their manager with games on a Tuesday and a Thursday this week. We have to prepare for a philosophy. Whether they play a three or a four, they can adapt. They have a philosophy – it is brave, technical, challenging and there is an energy about it. That's what we have to prepare for. Whether it’s (Harry) Kane, (Fernando) Llorente or Dele Alli, we are preparing to play a very good team who play a certain way that will cause us problems, no matter what we do.”