Orient caretaker lauds work of Dons boss Ardley

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 April 2016

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley looks on (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley looks on (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

2016 Getty Images

Former Gillingham manager looks ahead to AFC Wimbledon clash and facing some old friends

Andy Hessenthaler gives instructions from the touchline during Leyton Orient's match with Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo).Andy Hessenthaler gives instructions from the touchline during Leyton Orient's match with Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo).

Leyton Orient caretaker Andy Hessenthaler has praised AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley ahead of tomorrow’s battle in south London.

The 50-year-old will take O’s to the Cherry Red Records knowing a defeat would end their hopes of reaching the League Two play-offs.

At the start of the season, under the management of Ian Hendon, hopes were high that the Brisbane Road club could achieve promotion.

But going into this weekend’s fixture, it is the seventh-place Dons who are in the driving seat to reach the play-offs with Orient trailing them by five points in 11th.

“Neal is a good guy and has done a fantastic job there, I know quite a lot of their players like Barry Fuller and Akinfenwa,” said Hessenthaler.

“I worked with both of those guys at Gillingham so they have some good players and there confidence will be very high going into it.

“They’ll be nervous about playing us, though, because after Tuesday we need to bounce back and finish the season with three wins and see where it takes us.”

After a 3-1 loss at home to Plymouth Argyle, O’s caretaker will be keen to see a response from his side tomorrow, but Hessenthaler accepts that Ardley will be aware of that and ensure the Dons start strongly.

He added: “Neal is a good manager, he will have them prepared and they won’t be complacent because they’ve won and we have lost. I’m sure he will have them right on the money and they’ll be ready to take us on and make it difficult.”

One of the few positives from Tuesday night was another impressive cameo from Ollie Palmer off the bench as the 24-year-old won a penalty against Argyle and also caused Dagenham & Redbridge problems on Saturday.

Hessenthaler said: “Ollie come on and run around, he unsettles defences and won the penalty. I thought he was bright again. We will see at the weekend if he starts the game.”

Wimbledon have won four of their six matches at home since February, losing just once to Oxford United, and therefore Orient can expect a tough test tomorrow.

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