Robbie Earle: I love Vale and the Dons, so I'll take a draw tonight
I HAVEN'T rung my old Wimbledon team-mate Neal Ardley this week. I just couldn't bring myself to wish the Dons manager luck when his team are about to play Port Vale.
The Valiants and Wimbledon are the two clubs I spent my professional career with and are the two results I look for first most weekends.
Forgive me then, if I happily take a draw tonight as the Dons entertain the mighty Valiants.
It's amazing to think that when I left Vale for the Dons in 1991, the Valiants were in what is now the Championship and Wimbledon were in the top flight.
Ruark HiFi - for lovers of good music and fantastic sound
Headphone offer is our own offer as test for these vouchers - so don't delay offer expires 25/05/13
Only with this voucher, choose a set of headphones up to 10% of the units price or add some to it if you want a dearer set
ie Unit for £300 would give you £30 towards headphones of your choice
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Saturday, May 25 2013
Things have come full circle as the teams meet in the Football League's basement division, just as they did when I was a whippersnapper at Vale Park more than 30 years ago.
The way Vale are going, they will be out of the Fourth Division this season, particularly after their new owners, Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite, allowed Micky Adams to strengthen his squad this month.
Wimbledon could also be heading out of the division – but by the wrong route because they are second from bottom.
I'm desperately hoping that doesn't happen because the "real" Dons have worked miracles to get back into the Football League after the original club was taken over and moved to Milton Keynes.
It's been a remarkable effort by Wimbledon supporters who refused to have their club taken away from them.
So, whatever happens to the Dons this season, you can bet they will remain very much a fans' club.
Compare and contrast to Southampton whose fans must be wondering why they bother to turn up after their popular manager Nigel Adkins was sacked.
I'm sure plenty of people will be hoping the Saints go down after Adkins was axed despite leading the club to successive promotions, and lifting them out of the Premier League relegation zone.
But I feel sorry for the Southampton fans who must feel as though their views don't matter a jot. They are just expected to turn up, pay their money and not have their thoughts taken into consideration – it's not really what being a football supporter should be about.
You can't blame new Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino for taking the job on, but I bet all the other clubs in the bottom third of the league were delighted with the change of manager.
It's a strange time to swap and I just don't understand why chairman Nicola Cortese changed what, by any reasonable test, was a winning formula. Now if Southampton stay up, everyone will say Adkins would have kept them up anyway. If they go down, everyone will blame the owner and Pochettino. It's an unnecessary pressure which can only help Southampton's relegation rivals.
In fact, if I was a QPR or Reading fan I would be delighted this week because Aston Villa's survival chances have also taken a dent.
They weren't even playing in the Premier League, when they took on Bradford City, but that two-legged defeat in the Capital One Cup semi-finals could prove a fatal blow to morale.
I can understand a Premier League side losing to a fourth-tier team in a one-off game, after all Bradford beat Arsenal in the last round. However, to be knocked out over two legs takes some doing.
That's not to dismiss a terrific performance by Bradford City and their bright young manager Phil Parkinson.
He didn't have the best of times at Charlton, but is highly thought of in the game and was employed by Arsene Wenger as a scout when he was out of work.
But however well Bradford played, Villa should have been too good for them over two matches. After losing the first 3-1 leg in Yorkshire, professional pride should kick in and you would expect the Villa players to show why they are the Premier League side.
Instead a young Villa team didn't seem to be able to cope with the pressure when Bradford equalised on the night at Villa Park to go 4-2 up on aggregate.
It's not that the Villa players didn't care, it's just that a very young side couldn't deal with the situation.
Alan Hansen has never been allowed to forget his comment that Manchester United could 'never win anything with kids' before they went on to win the Premier League in 1996.
But United's exceptional kids included David Beckham, the Neville brothers, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. Villa's aren't at that level.
What's more, United's youngsters had experienced players around them such as Peter Schmeichel, Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister. If Villa don't get some experience in their side then their relegation rivals are going to find the battle that little bit easier.