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Brian Caffarey - 23rd July 2007

Woking v AFC Wimbledon
Pre-season friendly
7.45pm on Tuesday 24 July 2007

Well, we meet at last! But it?s still only a ?friendly?: the two clubs have contrived to miss each other in the Surrey Senior Cup each year and have not been drawn together so far in any other cup competition. The meeting will have added interest for Cards fans in seeing the return of one-time favourite, Steve Ferguson, while Dons fans will be able to see Paul Lorraine, who travelled in the opposite direction.


Woking?s two friendly games so far have produced two defeats: 2-1 away at Basingstoke and 1-0 at Maidenhead and, in truth, not too much to whet the appetite. But Woking fans will be telling themselves that results don?t matter in friendly games and that it?s very early days for a team which is still getting to know each other. Nevertheless, it would be good to see the new faces perform well in the first home fixture against up-and-coming neighbours in front of what should be a decent-sized crowd.

Frank Gray confirmed this (Monday) afternoon that the only absentee will be Jay Gasson, still recovering from the ankle injury he picked up in the Basingstoke friendly. Frank says that he is not intending to play any trialists and will be using the opportunity to give a full 90 minutes? work-out to more of the squad. (He?s expecting to give David Shin another run-out too.) I asked Frank if, following two defeats, the first home friendly brought a bit more pressure to get a result, but he didn?t see it that way: ?No?, he said, ?we?re looking forward to our first opportunity to play on the Kingfield pitch but I don?t see that there?s any added pressure to win. I don?t view pre-season friendlies in that way. It would be nice to put on a good performance but the main focus is on fitness and improving our shape.? Frank confirmed that the pitch should be fine unless there is another deluge like the one on Friday ? which isn?t forecast.


The close season saw the arrival of Terry Brown as the Dons? new manager. Terry and his assistant manager, Stuart Cash, hope to emulate their achievements at the Rec when they guided the Shots out of the Ryman League. Kingsmeadow, like Kingfield, has seen its fair share of comings and goings this summer. New faces include former Dons? star Marcus Gayle, also making the journey from the Rec; and two other well-known Conference performers, Jake Leberl, who was with the Daggers last season, and Jason Goodliffe, formerly with Stevenage. Other new faces are keeper Paul Seuke, signed from Yeading; young striker Sam Hatton, a product of the Stevenage Academy; Tony Finn, a winger from Metropolitan Police; midfielder Robert Quinn, with Gravesend last season; and another midfielder, Kevin Warner, signed from Staines but originally a Wimbledon FC junior.

Former Woking Academy youngster, Chris Hussey, is also in the Dons? squad.

Going out of the door in addition to Paul Lorraine (whom Terry had been keen to keep) were Wes Daly, whom we saw at Maidenhead the other evening, and Roscoe D?Sane.

Terry Brown told fans at their fans? forum that he?d completed his squad apart from possibly signing a few youngsters and continuing the search for a ?big, ugly target man?. (You?d have thought Marcus Gayle fitted that description well enough!)

The Dons had an encouraging start to their pre-season campaign with a 4-1 win at Tooting and Mitcham, with goals coming from Sam Hatton, Robin Shroot, Marcus Gayle and Oliver Treacher. (Ben Abbey got the consolation goal for Tooting and Mitcham.) They were supposed to play Brentford on Saturday but the game was a victim of the recent atrocious weather. They?ve got an interesting friendly coming up on 4 August when FC United travel to Kingsmeadow. The Dons start the season on 18 August at home to Ramsgate.


Admission prices for any part of the ground are:

Adults ?10
Senior Citizens ?5
Juniors/Students ?1

WFC season ticket holders are entitled to free entry to one of the three home friendly games.

Come on, you Cards!
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