Sole returns as Cards step up pre-season preparations
12:00am, Fri 6th Jul 2018
Woking vs AFC Wimbledon
Giuseppe Sole Appreciation Match
Tuesday 10th July 2018
Giuseppe Sole returns to Woking for the first time in more than two years on Tuesday as, for one night only, he re-joins the club for whom he made more than 350 appearances and scored 111 goals.
He will captain the squad assembled by Alan Dowson, who signed Sole from Woking at former club Hampton and Richmond, as the new Cards’ manager enjoys his first home match since his appointment back in May. It promises to be a tough test for Dowse’s new-look side, who kicked off pre-season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Fleet Town last Saturday, with League One side AFC Wimbledon the visitors to the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
The Cards remained in first gear for much of their opening game where goals from defender Jack Cook and academy graduate Reggie Young, in addition to one of the large number of trialists, proved sufficient to secure an easy win. They will need to step things up against Neil Ardley’s side who certainly won’t be allowing the prospect of a returning fan favourite to distract from their own pre-season preparations.
In addition to Sole, Dowse will hope to include his latest signing, left-back Josh Casey, in his squad, as well as one or more of the players who weren’t deemed ‘match ready’ for a run out at Calthorpe Park, particularly Declan Appau and Nicky Wheeler. Charlie Wassmer and Christian Jolley will remain sidelined however whilst Young is also unavailable for family reasons.
No doubt there will also be a reduced pool of trialists on show against The Dons. Amongst those who featured against Fleet were former Woking defender Matt Young, ex-academy player Danny Taylor (now of Knaphill), and recent academy graduates Charlie Hester-Cook and Dan Choules.
It was a tough season for The Dons, their second in the third tier of English Football, and one that ultimately ended in relief as they finished just three points clear of the relegation places in 18th place. Despite their struggles it’s a season that will live long in the memory for many Wimbledon fans as they finished eight points ahead of fierce rivals Milton Keynes Dons, who finished second bottom and were relegated to League Two.
Wimbledon’s prospects of improving next season have not been helped by the departure of several key players this summer. Chief amongst those moving on is striker Lyle Taylor, who had a brief loan spell with the Cards back in 2012, who goes to Charlton Athletic after finishing as The Dons’ top scorer for each of the last two years. Long-serving trio George Francomb (Crawley Town), Barry Fuller (Gillingham) and Paul Robinson (Havant and Waterlooville) have also chosen to seek pastures new.
In terms of incomings they have so far brought in just three players – former Sheffield United and Bradford City striker James Hanson, winger Mitchell Pinnock, who played against us for Dover Athletic last season, and goalkeeper Tom King who joins on loan from Championship side Millwall. Other key players include Ghanaian international forward Kwesi Appiah, former Crystal Palace and England Under-21 midfielder Tom Soares, and former Cardiff City defender Deji Oshilaja.
We should have a great game in store so come down if you can to show your appreciation for Gez and to see how the rest of the team are shaping up ahead of the new season – which we now know will kick off at East Thurrock United in less than a month’s time, on Saturday 4th August.