Neal Ardley has no intention of under-estimating Carlisle United in AFC Wimbledon’s League Two clash at Kingsmeadow tonight.
With meetings against four of the current top six looming over the next 18 days, the Dons’ boss could be forgiven for letting his mind wander to bigger fish among a season-defining set of fixtures.
However, memories of the tough draw in the reverse fixture back in August and the knowledge the Cumbrians, not out of playoff contention themselves, have improved since then is enough to focus him on a tough task ahead.
“Carlisle are a good team,” Ardley said. “I thought they were one of the best teams we played earlier in the season. They've slightly adapted their style, but Jabo Ibehre is a handful in this league and Charlie Wyke we know well.
“They have strengthened with Mark Ellis at the back and they have good set pieces, including long throws.”
The game presents the latest challenge to 18-year-old centre-back Ryan Sweeney.
The youngster has found himself thrown in at the deep end at the heart of Dons’ rear-guard for the victories over Luton and Barnet following the season-ending injury suffered by Karleigh Osborne.
Ardley revealed Sweeney had to shake off illness in the build-up to the Bees clash, something he believes he made light of up against the beast that is Barnet’s John Akinde.
“Ryan was excellent,” he added. “He was sick earlier on in the week. We gave him time to recover and I was still undecided yesterday over whether it would be the right decision to play him, but knowing we needed that extra height he went in.
“He was up against Akinde who is a handful and he did it really, really well.”