The Opposition View: Wycombe Wanderers

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 03 February 2017

What's your assessment of Wycombe's season these days and are you still eyeing an automatic promotion place?

I think unless we fall away hideously the season has to be seen as a success. We have made a ton of cash from the sell-on from Jordon Ibe to Bournemouth, enabling us to pay off our former owner, and done well out of the Tinpot Trophy and FA Cup financially. 

The squad has come together and seems unified and pulling in the right direction, especially given the very ropey start we had to the season. 

I don't think we're good enough for an automatic promotion spot, but at this stage I'd be disappointed if we didn't make the play-offs. 

What is the main cause of your team's upturn in form since they were soundly beaten 4-2 at Fratton Park in the earlier league fixture?

Gareth Ainsworth having a better idea of his best XI, and also the emergence of Scott Kashket banging in the goals up front. Kashket was a hopeful punt as a Leyton Orient reject, and appears to be one of those rough diamonds that many managers hope to catch but few come off. 

Are you happy with Gareth Ainsworth's transfer business in January and do you think the squad is strong enough to maintain a promotion place.

It has to be, yes. Sam Saunders, who was previously on loan with us a couple of seasons back, has returned in central midfield - we were probably only able to afford him with all the extra cup cash floating about. 

Paris Cowan-Hall is back for good, having signed permanently from Millwall. Bit of a sicknote but an exciting pacey player who can make a difference to a game. 

I have yet to see Alex Jakubiak, our new loanee from Watford, play a single minute. However he scored in his debut, which can't be bad. 

Max Muller is a young defender who was on a short-term contract with us, but has been injured for most of his time here. Too early to say whether this is a good one or not. 

Almost as good as a new signing is the fact is that Aaron Pierre, who is a rock in central defence, stayed with us. 

We have a little more strength in depth now, and unless injuries kick in, I would say we're good enough to be top seven come the end of the season. 

Wycombe have previously had a reputation for bad football and gamesmanship but seemed to play a more attractive style when they won at Portsmouth in the F.A. Cup. Would you say your team's playing style has improved?

Ha! No. Let me qualify that, though...

The core of our playing style is still very direct, and a lot of the time we will lump it up to Akinfenwa and hope for the best. We can play football when we put our minds to it, but keeping it on the deck is not our main priority. 

But whilst the style itself may not have "improved" if by that you mean more pretty football, we are playing it with more consistency, creating better chances, and way more shots on goal than we were in the initial third of the season. 

Re-signing Sam Saunders we've now got more creativity in the midfield and Scott Kashket has made a big difference with his pace up front. 

The gamesmanship is still very much there, and I suspect always will be under Ainsworth. 

What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your squad now and who are the key players?

Strengths:

Generally team spirit, dedication and overall grit.

Sam Saunders: good vision for a pass in midfield and a good football brain.

Scott Kashket: As mentioned already, pacey, can pick his shots well and is a good finisher.

Adebayo Akinfenwa: Well we all know about this one, right? But I don't care who you are, he is always going to be a pain in the arse to defend against. Combines well with Kashket also. 

Joe Jacobson: Our left back, he puts in a mean cross and has provided a fair few assists for Akinfenwa. 

Weaknesses:

Generally speaking - one-dimensionality with the long ball thing. If you've got a centre-half who can keep Akinfenwa in his pocket then you may well stop us. That said, Sam Saunders has yet to truly settle back into the squad and he may yet provide a more creative outlet. 

As far as players - hard to say, for me there are no glaring weak links. If I had to pick one, I would say Sido Jombati at right back. He is a good player for sure, but the consistency isn't always there. 

What kind of match can we expect at Adams Park and is a draw a good result for you?

Relentless niggly fouls, lots of long balls, some hard tackling, and a general never-say-die attitude. 

If we go ahead, then serious timewasting will ensue - expect at least six minutes added time. We always like to provide the maximum game time to make sure our visitors get value for money from their ticket. Or something like that. 

We will go for the win, but in the grand scheme of things a draw is OK. 

Predict the outcome of the game.

A 1-1 draw.

Portsmouth Match Reports

Sky Bet League One Sat 18th November 15:00

Portsmouth 1 - 0 Southend United

Last game - Match Centre


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