Wycombe ‘absolutely buzzing’ ahead of play-offs, says boss Gareth Ainsworth

Wanderers take on MK Dons over two legs for a place at Wembley.

By Press Association Published: 4 May 2022 - 1.56pm

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth insists the whole squad are “buzzing” as they prepare for the first leg of their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final against MK Dons at Adams Park.

The Chairboys finished above Plymouth on the final day of the regular campaign to snatch sixth place following eight wins from an unbeaten 12-game run.

MK Dons just missed out on going up automatically, ending a point behind Rotherham after they won 5-0 at Plymouth to aid Wycombe’s late promotion bid.

Wycombe came through the play-offs in 2020, having been moved up from eighth to third on points-per-game when football resumed after being paused following the coronavirus outbreak.

After seeing off Fleetwood, Wycombe went on to beat Oxford in the final at an empty Wembley to reach the second tier for the first time but were then relegated again.

Adams Park is set to be a sell-out on Thursday night as Ainsworth’s men look to give the home support plenty to cheer heading into Sunday’s second leg.

“The whole squad is absolutely buzzing for this,” Ainsworth said Wycombe’s club website.

“Two years ago (when no supporters were in the ground), we heard the subs and the non-playing staff louder than you could ever hear them.

“Even with 9,500 (fans) in on Thursday, I think you are still going to hear the subs and the non-playing staff.

“We are so in it together and it is a great place to be. Hopefully we can do it.”

Despite speculation linking him with potential jobs in the Championship at Blackburn, his boyhood club, and another former team QPR, Ainsworth remains fully focused on challenge in hand.

“Nothing is going to distract me from these play-offs and for me, it’s all about the play-offs and Wycombe Wanderers,” Ainsworth told reporters.

“I’m humbled and flattered to be linked with jobs like that as they are obviously big clubs.

“But I am at a big club as well and we have got plenty of time to do things here.”

MK Dons have only lost three league games since the turn of the year, two of which came back-to-back during April, denting their automatic promotion hopes.

Head coach Liam Manning has also been mooted as a possible replacement for the departing Mark Warburton at Loftus Road.

He too, though, is not about to take his attention away from getting the required results against Buckinghamshire rivals Wycombe.

“All my focus is on this hectic week we have got. All my energy is on this club and making sure the players are prepared,” Manning said at a press conference.

“It’s complimentary but it doesn’t distract me. I am quite good at blocking it out.

“My commitment is here and making sure we do everything we can do to progress in the play-offs.”

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