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4-4-2: This AFC Wimbledon XI could shock Sheffield United on Saturday



AFC Wimbledon earned their first ever win in the third tier of English football when Dominic Poleon’s injury time goal gave them a 2-1 victory over Chesterfield.

They had drawn the previous two – against ten-man Rochdale and Northampton – and lost the two opening games.

The Dons have now climbed out of the relegation zone and will be looking to charge up the table.

Survival is the clear goal for Neal Ardley’s men in their first season ever at this level.

It has been an emotional ride for Wombles fans after the original Wimbledon FC relocated and rebranded as Milton Keynes Dons.

AFC Wimbledon was created by the fans in protest and they have climbed up through the divisions after starting as a club in non-league obscurity.

A play-off final win over Plymouth ensured their promotion to League One but it is potentially a season of struggle ahead.

They have looked promising in early season, however, and could produce a shock against Sheffield United on Saturday. The Blades are hotly tipped to be right up there competing for promotion after heavily investing this summer.

On paper this is a mismatch but if underdogs Wimbledon put out this XI in a 4-4-2 system, they could get all three points against a Sheffield United side who are still finding their feet under Chris Wilder…

GK: Ryan Clarke

Ryan Clarke has been AFC Wimbledon’s first choice goalkeeper this season after joining from Northampton in the summer. The experienced 34-year-old had big boots to fill after Kelle Roos returned to Derby but has looked solid so far.

RB: Barry Fuller

Captain fantastic Barry Fuller always gives 100% and is a real leader at the back. The old-school right back is a tough tackler and oozes passion wherever he goes. The 32-year-old should retain his starting spot for this weekend’s clash.

CB: Paul Robinson

The incredibly experienced Paul Robinson is a mainstay in the Wombles’ defence. Having played over 300 league games for Millwall in the football league, the 34-year-old is none of the first names on Ardley’s teamsheet and even scored last weekend against Chesterfield.

CB: Darius Charles

Charles made his loan move to Wimbledon permanent this summer after being released by Burton Albion and the versatile 28-year-old commands a first team spot. He is most naturally a centre half and should continue in that role alongside Robinson against Sheffield United.

LB: Jonathan Meades

Meades has returned to his starting left back berth after injury. The 24-year-old is in his second spell at Kingsmeadow having enjoyed a profitable loan spell with the Dons back in the 2012/13 season. The former Wales under-21 international is solid in both defence and attack and – when fully fit – is more than capable of competing at League One level.

RM: Dominic Poleon

After striking a brace in the EFL Trophy victory over Swansea and grabbing a late winner against Chesterfield, Dominic Poleon deserves a first team start. The 23-year-old can play as a striker or a winger and joined on a free after leaving Oldham last summer. He is a more attacking option than George Francomb but both wingers could argue reasonable cases for starting.

CM: Jake Reeves

Jake Reeves is the unsung hero in this Wimbledon team. The 23-year-old has established himself as a permanent fixture in the middle of the park with composed tidy midfield displays. The former Brentford man is an excellent tackler and passer and keeps things ticking over for the Wombles.

CM: Dannie Bulman

Dannie Bulman just seems to be getting better with age. The naturally defensive-minded central midfielder breaks attacks down and can charge forward too. The 37-year-old penned a new deal with the Dons this summer and has formed a formidable partnership with Reeves in midfield.

LM: Andy Barcham

Pacy wide man Andy Barcham is a goalscoring threat from midfield and has already notched three goals in all competitions so far this year. The 29-year-old is a regular starter on the left wing as he looks to provide service for the front two and grab some goals himself too.

ST: Tyrone Barnett

Journeyman Tyrone Barnett put in a fantastic shift against Chesterfield and was rightly named man of the match. The experienced 30-year-old performs best in a strike duo as he plays the role of target man, laying it off to his partner. The 6’3” forward is a handful for any defence with his physical presence and he poses an aerial threat too.

ST: Lyle Taylor

Lyle Taylor will face his old club Sheffield United with a point to prove. The 26-year-old striker struck 20 league goals last year, including one in the play-off final, as Wimbledon gained promotion. Wimbledon fans will hope that the Montserrat international can score the goals to lead them to survival.

NCTJ-qualified journalist - University of Birmingham undergraduate - King's College London postgraduate - Coventry City and West Ham United

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 4-4-2: This AFC Wimbledon XI could shock Sheffield United on Saturday

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