Terry Brown is hopeful the return of three key players will help banish the gloom at Kingsmeadow this weekend – but admits he cannot lose many more games before getting the “tin tack”.
The Dons boss, whose side face a crunch match with Rochdale at home this Saturday, is hoping to end a miserable run of four losses and one draw in the past five outings.
And with Wimbledon lying 21st in the table, and John Coleman’s Rochdale side struggling in 16th, Brown knows this weekend’s fixture is important for both teams – and managers.
“I’m hopeful Rashid Yousseff, Luke Moore and Curtis Haynes-Brown [who is on a month’s trial from Yeovil Town] will all be available this weekend,” Brown said.
“We need something to turn things around.
“We need to play well against a Rochdale side who have had a slow start to the season, but are one of the best footballing sides [in League Two].
“We have mainly faced aerial bombardments, but they are a good passing side.
“I have a lot of respect for John Coleman’s sides.
“We are both under a bit of pressure and will be looking for wins.”
Brown has also moved to take the pressure off the team as the club and fans get restless with results.
He said: “It is all part and parcel of management.
“I have been in this job for 30 years. Nothing seems to go right and you always pick up injuries at the same time.
“I have been through something similar while I was at Aldershot.
“You can’t pay for a win and there is just no magic formula.
“It is my job to take all the pressure on my shoulders and keep it off the players.
“But unlike last year we can’t get four loan signings to help.
“We have to work hard on the training pitch and, believe me, we have been doing a lot of that.”
But despite being upbeat, Brown is aware time is running out for him as the games keep coming.
“You hope the directors keep faith in your plans and you have to be positive going into Saturday’s game,” he said.
“If you go into management fearing the sack you are in the wrong profession.
“You know you are only five or six games from the tin tack [sack].”
Defender Pim Balkestein, who faces his former club on Saturday, has admitted performances at the back have not been good enough and told team mates it will take brave men to turn the campaign around.
One person who might steady the ship is returning-hero Steven Gregory, who signed a three-month loan deal at Kingsmeadow earlier this week after agreeing a switch from AFC Bournemouth.
But Balkestein insisted the solution also had to come from within.
“We are in a spell of the season when everything seems to go against you,” he said.
“Every mistake is leading to a goal being scored against us and it is hard, but we have to fight against it. We have to stand up and be brave.
“Every footballer and every club will have the same period in your life when it is not going well and it is a case of standing up and being a man now.
“We have two massive games coming up now and we need at least four points from the games.
“Anything less will be a disappointment.”
Young full back Jim Fenlon, 18, is expected to be fit for the weekend’s game after recovering from the foot injury that saw him miss the Cobblers clash.