Match Preview: Shots v AFC Wimbledon

The Shots complete their pre-season programme on Friday as League One side AFC Wimbledon visit the EBB Stadium.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm against the team who finished 15th in their first season in the third tier of English football following six promotions since their formation in 2002. Manager Neal Ardley – who played almost 250 games for Wimbledon between 1991 and 2002 – is about to begin his sixth season with AFC, and has made several summer signings to strengthen his squad.

Former Gillingham and Coventry City striker Cody McDonald has arrived to partner 14-goal top scorer Lyle Taylor in attack. 2016-17 was the Montserrat international’s second consecutive season as The Dons’ leading marksman, and McDonald joins a strong contingent of former Gills at Kingsmeadow.

Captain Barry Fuller, fellow defender Deki Oshilaja, and wingers Andy Barcham and Chris Whelpdale have all graced Priestfield in their careers, but there are also a large number of Shots connections throughout the Club.

First-team coach Simon Bassey made 47 appearances for Aldershot Town between 1997 and 2000, whilst goalkeeping coach Ashley Bayes spent two years in the same position at the EBB Stadium from 2011. Also amongst their squad are two former loanees, Ghana international Kwesi Appiah and Tottenham academy graduate Dean Parrett, and midfielder Tom Soares, brother of ex-Shots winger Louie.

Two Millwall stalwarts, who played against Aldershot Town in a 2008 FA Cup second round tie, may also feature for The Dons, in defender Paul Robinson and midfielder Jimmy Abdou, who has recently signed on loan from The Lions.

Other new arrivals include England Under 21 goalkeeper George Long, on a season-long loan from Sheffield United, defender Callum Kennedy, from Leyton Orient, and midfielder Liam Trotter after his release by Bolton Wanderers.

“There were loads of positives and loads we learnt,” Ardley told the Club’s official website after Tuesday’s defeat to Wycombe Wanderers, before suggesting that he is looking to make his eighth summer signing another striker. “We need to keep believing in what we’re doing (but) we just lacked that cutting edge.

“Now we have to do a little bit of work to complete the final piece of the jigsaw. We have to do a little bit of work before we can raise the money to bring in a forward. We will try and get the right player in who will help us through the season.”

Gary Waddock is expected to field new loan signing Will de Havilland along with remaining trialists James Rowe, Jason Akiotu and Kodi Lyons-Foster.

Admission is £10 for adults and £5 for concessions, with children under 6 admitted free of charge.