Jobi: So Tough For Dons

Jobi McAnuff has sympathy for his former team mates at Wimbledon, who - he says with respect - are fighting a "losing battle."

Jobi, who joined West Ham for an undisclosed fee earlier in the year, says it was hard playing for a club who constantly sold their players.

"You obviously try and not let the off-field problems get to you but so many players left over the years that you are fighting a losing battle every week," he admits.

"It was a hard situation to get your head round and in the end it was almost impossible to be successful - as we have seen this season, with so much going on off the pitch.

"That situation gave me the opportunity to get in the team and do well, though when I did get in it was in a lot better situation than it is now - with a lot more experienced players around who there aren't now.

"It helped having them around me initially and then with the club's problems and my form it allowed me to stay in the team - and I did benefit from that."

Even if he didn't always get paid on time...

"I'm not too bad at saving so I dipped into that," he says.

"But it is not nice, like anybody else, to do your work for a month and not get the money at the end of it.

"We didn't really have any insight into what was happening off the pitch, it was a day-to-day thing.

"You went in not knowing what to expect and something seemed to crop up every day; but you had to focus on the football."

Jobi knew a transfer out was inevitable, and he adds:

"My contract was running out so I felt I would be moving at some point.

"I was obviously delighted to go to West Ham and I am just looking forward to getting on with it.

"We can definitely go up, and although we were disappointed we didn't win on Saturday, there are a lot of games left - we just have to go out on the pitch and express ourselves.

"I think we are capable of it; we have such a high quality of players in the squad that we need to turn some of the draws into wins.

"If you go on a run in this league you go shooting up the table and we are optimistic; we just have to keep going and see where that takes us."

Looking at the game on Saturday, when a mere 470 Walsall fans that travelled to 'swell' a 33,177 crowd went home, one assumes, delighted with a point, Jobi says:

"It was a disappointing result and you would expect to beat Walsall at home - but we have to get on with it and we have a big game against Wimbledon.

"At home against teams who, with all due respect to Walsall, are struggling, we do expect to win and there is a pressure there.

"But, as players, we have got to try and not let that affect us, and play our normal game."

Jobi came on at half time for another ex-Wimbledon player, Adam Nowland, on Saturday, and he says:

"It happened to me at Bradford, playing a bit of an unfamiliar role and he didn't get into the game as much as he would have liked.

"Obviously the gaffer didn't feel we had the right balance in the team and Adam was disappointed - but that is how football is.

"I was glad to get a decent run; obviously 45 minutes is better than I have been getting lately and it gave me a bit more time to get into the game.

"The end product could have been a bit better but it was my first little bit at home and I feel I did all right.

"We didn't get any breaks against a team that was happy to sit back and defend and you can play the best football in the world, but if you don't get that break...

"Their fans were delighted and the players have gone off almost thinking it was a win - we have to realise that teams will want to do that against us.

"They are not even looking to attack; okay, if they get a set piece they are interested, but otherwise they are content to sit behind the ball, and we have to learn how to get past these teams very quickly."

The home crowd's reaction, with barely an empty seat amongst them, was one of frustration, but Jobi says:

"That is understandable but a little disappointing because I thought we gave it a real go in the second half.

"But we were lacklustre in the first half, and we need to be winning those games, so they are entitled to their opinions.

"Although it don't go too well for myself at Bradford I still fancy myself on the left OR the right and I will do as well as I can."

Speaking ahead of the Wimbledon game, he adds:

"We have only got two points from a possible six - which was the target - so this is a massive game before we play Sunderland on Saturday.

"We need to set ourselves up for that with a good win and nothing less is acceptable, really.

"Friendships will be aside for the night and we will go for the three points.

"I have to block the rest out as much as possible if I am playing; I don't know what the situation is, I might be coming off the bench, but I just have to do as well as I can when I get the chance.

"It doesn't matter who it is against; I have got to try and get my foot in the door and try and get into the team."

So, as the Dons - the worst supported team in the division, with just 40 away tickets sold and a similar number expected to come in on the door - prepare to face the best supported team, have his old team mates accepted their fate?

"It is a hard situation; I won't say they have accepted it but it is almost going to be impossible to get out of it because they have lost so many players," he says.

"They are fighting as hard as they can to keep it going for as long as they can - and any Wimbledon side will try and prove people wrong that have written them off.

"They have a couple of players that we have to be careful of who can be match winners on their day.

"I am sure we will have our homework done and we will know who to look out for."

Which won't include West Ham fan Dean Holdsworth, who is not fit to play.

"Deano won't be available as he had an operation recently - but they have some dangerous players," says Jobi.

Perhaps the veteran striker can borrow former team mate Adam Nowland's box to watch 'his' team in action!