AFC Wimbledon: Boss Neal Ardley says survival is vital

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley says the club are prepared for one last push in the League Two relegation battle.

The Dons know a win over Fleetwood Town on Saturday will be enough to guarantee their Football League status.

He told BBC London: "We all know it's massive. This club has worked hard for 10 years to get to where we are.

"The Conference is a tough league and this club did well to get out of it a couple of years ago. We understand how vital it is to stay in the League."

The Dons currently sit 23rd but, with fellow strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge facing York, they will leapfrog one side if they beat Fleetwood at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.

The rise of AFC Wimbledon

Wimbledon FC were founded in 1889 and climbed from non-league to the Premier League.

AFC Wimbledon were formed in 2002 by Wimbledon FC supporters dismayed by the FA's decision to allow the club to move to Milton Keynes.

After Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes in 2003, they were renamed Milton Keynes Dons in 2004.

Since their creation, AFC Wimbledon they have risen from the ninth tier of English football to League Two.

AFC Wimbledon, who were promoted to the Football League in 2011, have never been relegated in their 10-year history.

The Dons, who currently play in Kingstonian, have ambitions to return to the London Borough of Merton by redeveloping Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.

Wimbledon have been in the bottom half of the table for almost the entire campaign but were as high as 16th, seven points above the drop zone, after beating Morecambe in late March.

Since then Ardley's side have picked up two points from a possible 15 to put them back in danger of dropping back into non-league.

"I am disappointed we have not picked up the points since six games ago but I am not disappointed with the performances," Ardley said.

"We had three 1-0 defeats on the trot. We are a decent team. We know that and it gives us belief.

"We are playing well. This is a crazy league. We got to 50 points and now we need to get to 53.

"We have got a job to do and know what we have got to try and achieve.

"Loads of teams have dropped into the bottom two and we just hope there is one last twist on the final day."

Ardley inherited a side just above the bottom two when he was appointed manager in October and he is pleased they have their fate in their own hands going into the final day.

"We are in control of our performance levels," he said.

"If I look at it as a manager, the things that can go against you are that the pressure gets to the players and they worry because they want it so badly, and that in football you are always a deflection or a mistake away from a goal.

"Sometimes you need that luck to go your way.

"What we can control is the questions we try and ask of the opposition. The boys are all up for it.

If we can get through this game it could be the benchmark to go on. If it doesn't happen then we will regroup and do everything we can to make sure it is just a blip and we come back again

Neal Ardley AFC Wimbledon manager

"Let's just hope we can embrace the pressure of the situation and put a performance in to savour.

"The fans all know there is a team that cares and that is really trying to push us over the line."

AFC Wimbledon have not suffered a relegation since their formation in 2002 and expressed a desire to return to the London Borough of Merton, their spiritual home, by redeveloping Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.

Ardley does not believe that, should they end up dropping into non-league, relegation would prove a major setback to the club.

"I don't believe so," he said. "The club has been incredibly well run and everything has been done within budget.

"The club would not fold or become desperate. There has always been sensible planning.

"We have done a lot of work behind the scenes and made huge strides since I came in in October.

"I believe if we can get through this game, and do what we set out to do all along, it could be the benchmark to go on.

"If it doesn't happen then we will regroup, we will make sure we put plan B into place and we will do everything we can to make sure it is just a blip and we come back again."