The Opposition View: Wycombe Wanderers

Last updated : 08 September 2016 By Jim Bonner

What's your assessment on Wycombe's season so far?

Worse than expected. My pre-season prediction was for more mid-table mediocrity with another outside chance for a play-off tilt, but we look way off the mark for that. It's too early to be whining about a relegation dogfight but we certainly need to buck our ideas up to avoid one. 

Last season we were relatively injury-free with a small squad, but this season the injuries have kicked in big time. Don't get me wrong, I doubt we'd be pulling up any trees even without players in the sickroom, but it doesn't help. 

What are the Chairboys' opinions of Gareth Ainsworth these days?

Benevolence mixed with frustration, I would say. He is unquestionably passionate about his football - but the style of play is often dire, with few tactics other than hit 'n' hope and rely on your defence to see you through. And that defence has started to ship goals, frankly. 

So, ugly football will be tolerated if you're getting the results - which we were for a spell last season - but we've been awful to watch for most of 2016 and the results haven't been great either. 

The boo-boys are starting to become a small but growing and vocal minority. Ainsworth still has my support, but we'll see where we are by Christmas as to how much longer that lasts. 

Mind you, on a lighter note, he did come off the bench out of retirement in a Tinpot Trophy game v Northampton and bag himself an assist, so if nothing else he's a useful super-sub. 

Who are the key players in this current Wycombe squad? Has Akinfenwa lived up to the hype?

Well. Aaron Pierre is commonly acknowledged as being too good for us at centre back and we turned down a bid on deadline day, which is odd, because we're usually unashamedly a selling club. However, it remains to be seen if he pulls a sulky until we let him go, which is never good for either club (who then sell at a knockdown price) or player (who then earns the hatred of the fans). 

Our other first choice centre back Anthony Stewart is no slouch either.

Luke O'Nien - who you won't see due to injury - is a sprightly attacking midfielder who can chip in with goals and Paris Cowan-Hall is another sicknote who you won't see. He is quality but generally barely lasts a couple of weeks before sloping off to the treatment room again. 

Jamal Blackman - loanee Chelsea keeper - has started promisingly. 

Oh look, none of our key attacking players will face you. Work out the implication of that one.

Akinfenwa? I thought it was a joke signing to be fair. Have we signed the guy just on the offchance that fans of The Strongest Player In Football Manager™ would start following Wycombe in a sort of post-ironic cult hero way? 


He does seem to have more of a football brain than I'd credited him with, and brings others into the game well. Never going to be the answer to our chronic goalscoring problems though.

What are the main strengths and weaknesses of your team?

Strengths: um...err.. the ability to scrap relentlessly. At least we never give up. If we actually try and play football, we can, but it's rare that you'll see it. 

Weaknesses : well now, attacking play is the glaring one. We barely score any goals from open play and there is woefully little creativity in the side. If you let us though, we might wear you down in a relentless midfield scrap then nab a shite goal from a set piece.

General style of play is dull hoofball and like I said, what was previously one of the meanest defences in the division is starting to leak goals. Not a good combination.

What do you make of the current Portsmouth squad?

I did check out the players on Wikipedia but to be fair I'm not that familiar with them. The average pedigree looks to be a higher level than our though. 

What kind of match can we expect on Saturday? Is this going to be another tedious game where Wycombe implement every time-wasting tactic they can get away with?

Well one of the few advantages of our poor results is that there's not much point timewasting if you're behind. For sure though you can expect a lot of simulation, and the kind of teeth-gnashing "game management" that makes people desert the Premiership and head for the honest climes of the lower leagues, only to find that the disease has already spread. 

Like I say, lots of midfield battling, lots of hit & hope, and precious little quality on display. 

Predict the outcome of the game.

3-1 to you, we seem to be OK at nabbing an inadequate consolation goal.