Neal Ardley hopes to replicate Wimbledon survival

“In lots of ways there are a lot of issues here that I had when I took over at Wimbledon,” Ardley said.

“There were lots of injuries, there were fitness issues and lots of the players weren’t quite at the levels they should have been.

“Myself and Coxy (Neal Cox, assistant manager) had two months in which we didn’t make a huge difference at first.

“I remember seeing the CEO and saying to him I think we will be bottom at Christmas, which we were, and that we needed to get January right.

“It was my first ever transfer window and I got two crucial signings over the line on the last day five minutes before the deadline.

“They proved to be two club captains in Alan Bennett and Gary Alexander.

“The rest is history. We went on a good run after that and we saved it.

“I’ve got to look at my experience of that and believe I can do the same again.

“I know everybody is doom and gloom at the moment, but I have to keep believing because if I don’t nobody is going to follow me.”

On future signings the manager said “I am like a guy who has been scarred by a girlfriend in the past, and you are just waiting for something to go wrong.

“Not that I have. That’s what it feels like!

“There are some players you think this is really positive and the deal is virtually done, but then something happens and you think ‘you’re joking’.

“That plays on my mind and I don’t get too excited until they are actually in the building.

“But I think where we are has a bearing on players not wanting to come. I am sure that would be very different in the summer if we are safe.

“That makes a big difference. As a manager you have to try to convince them to buy into you and get them to buy into the fact, they are going to be part of what we are trying to achieve.”