WIMBLEDON may be busting a gut to complete their Great Escape at Valley Parade – but James Hanson won’t be overdoing it.

City’s third all-time leading scorer is excited to be coming back to his old haunt with the chance to seal League One survival.

But Hanson has not been putting in any extra hours on the training ground in preparation for a game where he will be backed by an army of family and friends; far from it.

The striker is on a careful regime arranged by Dons boss Wally Downes not to push himself too hard during the week and risk more of the little niggles that have blighted his career in recent years.

And so far, it seems to be working wonders for the big man.

“Wally is a bit old school,” said Hanson. “He sat me down and the fitness coach and told us he was only bothered about me playing on a Saturday.

“He wasn’t too fussed what I did during the week because he knows I’m a fit lad.

“So, for the last six weeks I’ve had a programme where I’ve done yoga on Monday, a bike session on Tuesday and then trained with the lads on Thursday and Friday.

“The main thing now is that I’m playing 90 minutes every Saturday. So far, so good and I’ve managed every game no problem.

“When I came back from injury, we were on an unbeaten run, so I was coming on getting 20 minutes or half an hour.

“But, obviously I’ve played every minute in the last five or six games and I’m really enjoying it.”

It’s no surprise that Hanson is loving his football considering the amazing run that Wimbledon have been on since mid-February.

With only one loss in 11 games and 26 points from a possible 42, the Dons have resurrected their fortunes from being cut adrift to being odds-on to stay up.

Hanson admitted: “It’s been some turnaround. We were talking about it the other day and at one stage we were nine points off Bradford, who were second bottom.

“Everyone had written us off – and we all felt like that, to be honest.

“By January, we almost wanted the season to end because we were so many points off staying up.

“But after the last month, it would hurt even more now if we were to go down because we’ve worked so hard to get in this position.”

Last week’s win over Wycombe made it six games unbeaten – and put them two points clear of the drop zone in 18th. It is the first time they have been above the bottom four for six months.

A point at Valley Parade is probably enough with goal difference although Hanson is taking no chances.

“The results went perfect last week and Bradford did us a great favour winning at Scunthorpe,” he said. “It’s in our hands now.

“A win obviously takes any pressure off from looking at the other results. We’d be absolutely gutted not to do it now.

“We got battered at Luton last week but dug in and managed to equalise in the 93rd minute. It felt like we stayed up that night.

“To follow up with the win over Wycombe was so important and we’ll go to Valley Parade confident. But we know it’s a dangerous game because Bradford have got nothing to lose.”

Hanson has naturally mixed emotions. As a local lad, it hurts to see City dropping back into League Two six years after his goal had started the promotion party at Wembley.

“When the fixtures got announced and the season was going on, all my mates were talking about it going to the last game,” he added.

“I’m gutted the way it’s happened at Bradford.

“You look at the names on paper and the budget they’ve had and you’d expect them to be in the top six.

“But names don’t produce results and they’ve now got to start again next year in League Two.

“I’m sure they’ve got the right man in Gary Bowyer. They needed some stability.

“He needs to bring the right people in who are capable of playing for the club. Maybe some of them haven’t been from what I’ve heard.

“It sounds like there is going to be a big clear-out in the summer.

“League Two is not going to be easy. I’ve been there and the fans turn up in numbers to these small grounds and every team you play against seems to raise their game.

“He’s got to have the right characters who can handle that pressure of being the big boys in the league.”

For now, the present City side must handle Hanson better than last season when he came on for Bury to inspire a late fightback clinched by current Bantam George Miller.

Hanson said: “It will be interesting to see what kind of atmosphere it will be like at Valley Parade because obviously it’s not been the same as the past few years.

“My daughter Lexie has been showing off at school saying she’s going out on to the pitch with me. She can’t wait to meet the big chicken again!”