Captain Matt Bloomfield will be looking to return to the side following injury. The 34-year-old has recently returned from three months out following knee problems. Bloomfield scored Wycombe’s equaliser when the two sides drew 1-1 back in August.
Adebayo Akinfenwa has also stepped up his return to fitness. The former Northampton man has directly contributed to six goals in seven career appearances against Argyle (4G, 2A).
Goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay (finger) and defender Darius Charles (hip) will miss out due to injury.
Predicted Line-Up (4-3-3)
McCarthy, Jombati, El-Abd, Jacobson
Thompson, Gape, Bloomfield
Cowan-Hall, Akinfenwa, Freeman
Style of Play
In an attacking 4-3-3 formation, Gareth Ainsworth’s side are very counter-attack minded with a plethora of fast wingers. Current first choice pairing Paris Cowan-Hall and Luke Freeman face stiff competition from Scott Kashket and Nathan Tyson. They like to hit the wings to enable these players to cause problems and stretch their opposition. Meanwhile, in striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, they boast one of the strongest players in the Football League. His strength allows him to hold up the ball effectively, bringing others into play which has rewarded him with a club highest six assists so far this season.
When not hitting Akinfenwa, Wycombe prefer to keep the ball on the floor due to the lack of height in their side with Cowan-Hall and Freeman both standing at just 5ft 8in and 5ft 9in respectively. The pair make surging runs down the flanks in order to create chances with central midfielder Curtis Thompson proving the be the catalyst and ball winner in the middle often feeding these players.
With a lack of an out-and-out goalscorer in the side, Wycombe have done well in terms of spreading the burden with 14 players registering goals in the league. Akinfenwa, Joe Jacobson, Fred Onyedinma and Bryn Morris have all scored four goals apiece, albeit the latter two are now plying their trade elsewhere.
Defensively, Wanderers keep a rigid back four with slightly less emphasis on a deploying the high-press that was seen earlier this season – such as in the second-half of the 1-1 draw at Home Park. Their midfield three of Curtis Thompson, Dominic Gape and Matt Bloomfield help to shield the back four as they defend in numbers. They often swarm around opposition players to apply pressure and force mistakes. This allows them to regain position quickly and launch attacks of their own.
Whilst goalscorers and playmakers often earn the title of star player, Curtis Thompson has provided a steady rock in Wycombe’s midfield this season. The 25-year-old originally signed a short deal after arriving from Notts County in the summer but has now signed a two-year deal after heavily impressing.
At 5ft 7in he isn’t prolific in the air but he makes up for this with his strength and stamina, tirelessly bullying opposition players and proving to be the ball-winner needed in the side after they stepped up to League One. In an ageing Wanderers side his athleticism is exactly what Ainsworth needs, especially with Bryn Morris’ exit following the end of his loan from Shrewsbury.
The former Lincoln loanee will prove vital in this fixture coming up against the in-form attacking duo of Graham Carey, who took his assist tally to eight for the season after setting up both goals in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Walsall, and Ruben Lameiras.
Wycombe have been exposed in defence time and time again in recent weeks, through a combination or errors, counter-attacks and failure to deal with crosses. Both goals conceded in their recent 3-2 victory over Doncaster were as a result of this. With Carey and, in particular, Lameiras looking sharp in recent weeks this will be something that manager Derek Adams will be looking to exploit.
Their defensive record this season is far from impressive: their tally of 40 goals conceded in 28 league matches ranks them 15th behind relegation threatened Bristol Rovers (30) and Shrewsbury (35). With the jump in quality in League One they haven’t been helped with an aging backline: Jacobson (32), El-Abd (34) and Jombati (31) are all approaching the twilight of their careers.
Whilst there is a healthy spread of goals throughout the side, manager Gareth Ainsworth will surely be looking at signing another forward this month. Akinfenwa and Craig Mackail-Smith have only registered seven goals between them whilst Wanderers are eight points shy of the relegation zone despite recent back-to-back wins.
In recent years, Plymouth Argyle v Wycombe has always been a very tight affair with a fair bit of rivalry between the two sides. The last three meetings have all ended in draws and once again my money would be on a similar result. Both sides come into the game full of confidence following wins in their previous fixtures but while Argyle will come into the fixture much stronger than when the two sides last met in August, I believe that Gareth Ainsworth will be setting out his side to frustrate and stunt the Adams’ attack. Wycombe also have a fantastic recent home record, winning seven of their last nine at Adams Park. As a result of this I believe the affair will be low scoring, ending in a 1-1 draw.