The Opposition View: Wycombe vs Plymouth Argyle

It’s been a long time since Argyle and Wycombe met in August- what did you make of the game at Home Park?

It was certainly a game of two halves, Argyle bossed the first half and were perhaps unlucky to go into the break at only 1-0. But we came out fighting in the second period and deservedly got back into the game, and were very close to grabbing a late winner. I expect another great game this weekend.

How do you feel the first season back up in League One has gone for Wycombe?

We’re certainly doing better than we all expected going into season. Any Wycombe fan would’ve bitten your hand off to be just outside the top half at the midway point. We just have to hope that this can turn into a platform to build off for the next few years and become a sustainable League One club.

What has been the key to Gareth Ainsworth punching above his weight with Wycombe over the years?

Gareth has knack of making his squad enjoy their football. The players want to play for him, and he really brings out the best of his squad. A lot of out-of-favour players come to us and find a new lease of life under his management, take Scott Kashket and Alex Samuel as a couple of examples. As we all know with confidence brings success.

Many remember the games between Argyle and Wycombe for tensions boiling over and the rivalry between Adams and Ainsworth a few years ago. What’s your take on that?

In many aspects the rivalry between the two can be a good thing, it definitely makes for more fiery encounters out on the pitch through both managers’ competitive nature and eagerness to win, as well as giving both sets of supporters a game to get up for and look forward too each season.

Do you fear losing Ainsworth to a higher placed club or are you confident he’ll stay loyal?

I’d like to think that Ainsworth will be the Wycombe manager for the next 20 years and become a real legend within the club. However, whenever a manger performs well at a club there’s always speculation and rumours linking him to bigger jobs, but I’m confident he’ll be with us for at least a couple more seasons.

What are your thoughts as the transfer window comes to a close? Any areas needed for improvement?

With our restricted budget its always difficult to match the clubs around us, so we have to deal wisely in the windows. We had to reluctantly say goodbye to Fred Onyedinma, Bryn Morris and Randell Williams after their loan deals expired earlier this month, with Bryn & Randell signing permanent deals with Pompey and Exeter respectively. Whereas on the other hand, bringing in youngster Luke Bolton on loan from Manchester City looks like a quality bit of business from us.

And who have been your main stars this season?

The three loan players I mentioned were instrumental in guiding us into the top half before the turn of the year, and we all would’ve loved to keep them here. Bayo Akinfenwa has missed a lot of the season so far and so we needed someone to step up, and Alex Samuel has done exactly that. Signed after a successful trial period following his release from Stevenage in the summer, he’s been great for us. I also have to give praise to Dom Gape & Curtis Thompson in midfield. Their partnership in the middle of the park has been instrumental to our success this season.

How do you expect Wycombe will set up tactically for the game tomorrow?

With Argyle being towards the bottom of the table, I think we should be going into the game as favourites. However, we have to be aware of the dangers that they possess and will need to be strong at the back. We should be looking to start quickly and hopefully control proceedings from the first whistle to the last.

As has been the case in a few seasons previously, Wycombe’s home form is noticeably better than their away form. What’s the main reason for that?

When the terrace behind the goal is bouncing, it really is bouncing! You can almost feel the energy transfer to within the players when we play at home. There seems to be a different level of confidence when we play at Adams Park, a stadium we’ve been able to turn into a fortress in recent years.

What are your thoughts on Argyle’s poor season so far? Can we pull our way out of it

There’s no denying that Argyle have some top talents within their ranks. Freddie Ladapo is a great striker at this level and it had shown this season so far. It seems to be a similar sight for Argyle fans, with the same sort of scenario being the case last year, there’s definitely no need to worry at the moment, but come April it may be panic stations if they’re still in a relegation dog fight. Argyle should have enough to stay up, and comfortably.

And how do you feel Wycombe will do for the rest of the season?

At the start of the season the aim was survival, and it very much still is that. We don’t want to have to go into the final five or so games with relegation being a possibility. We should be looking to build on our current league position and hopefully looking for at top half finish.

Finally a score prediction for the game?

At the start of the season the aim was survival, and it very much still is that. We don’t want to have to go into the final five or so games with relegation being a possibility. We should be looking to build on our current league position and hopefully looking for at top half finish.

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