Matthew Bates v Adebayo Akinfenwa: There would only be one winner in a fight as ex-Middlesbrough star plans to be '˜cute'

Hartlepool United could face the sizeable threat of Adebayo Akinfenwa this Friday.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 9:10 am
Matthew Bates

The man-mountain of a striker will be available again for Wimbledon after serving a two-match ban following a red-card in the defeat at Bristol Rovers.

Matthew Bates could be the defender trying to tame the man known as “The Beast”.

And Bates told SportMail he is not fazed by “the task” of facing the Londoner who is the best part of 16 stones.

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“Akinfenwa is big and strong, he’ll back in, he’ll be physical,” said Bates. “But players like that don’t bother me.

“I know I’m not the biggest but I’d like to think I have a good football brain.

“You won’t ever see me getting shoulder barged off him and you’ll never see me fighting him – there would only be one winner.

“I will try to be cute.

“I’ve played against him a few times and it’s a challenge.

“I hope he’s back, I enjoy playing against him, he’s a rare breed and I say that in the nicest possible way.

“He’s not the quickest, but he’s a strong, strong boy, it will be a task for me and Jacko, or whoever the gaffer picks in defence.”

An indication Akinfenwa is likely to be involved at Victoria Park is the fact he had a mid-week run-out for Wimbledon reserves.

Akinfenwa kept match-sharp with a 75-minute run-out for the development side in a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Luton Town’s second string.

The 33-year-old partnered the impressive Toyosi Olusanya up front in a match played at the club’s training ground.

While Akinfenwa has scored ‘only’ five goals in 34 appearances this season, he is almost certain to feature at the Vic.

Sent off in the defeat at the Memorial Stadium – his first red card since 2009 – the former Millwall forward could be a key man for boss Neal Ardley.

The Wombles have only won one of their last six matches and that was a last-gasp 2-1 win over struggling Yoerk City at Kingsmeadow at the weekend.