Some of you may remember that I had high hopes of winning this game after we’d battled out a draw at the Vic. That was on the basis that we’d have some of our players fit for the replay and be able to take on Wimbledon with something at least approaching a first-choice side. Since then, things have got even worse. So bad, in fact, that we’ve finally reached the point where we can’t put out fourteen fit players. Full stop. We managed to get eleven on the pitch, but the ones on the bench? A not-even-vaguely-fit David Connolly, Nathan Lowndes (who’s still to get his first-team debut) and Warren Neill (who’s been helping out the reserves on a non-contract basis). It really is that bad.
God knows I would have settled for a draw at the start. That doesn’t signify a lack of ambition – I think we can win the replay – just a realistic assessment of our depleted squad’s chances. It’s way too easy to take Wimbledon lightly, to dismiss them like we dismiss Palace. Even with old duffers like Mick Harford, Wimbledon are a far better side than their media image suggests – you don’t stay in the Premiership for ten years by playing dumb kick-and-rush football (ask Leicester!).