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Wycombe Wanderers match preview

10 August 2018

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Rovers return to the Keepmoat Stadium for their first home game of the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One campaign on Saturday when they host league newcomers Wycombe Wanderers.

Rovers will be looking to build on their opening day success away at Southend United, hoping they can make it two wins from two in manager Grant McCann’s competitive home debut.

The opening day game saw Rovers win 3-2 at Roots Hall, with goals from John Marquis, Mallik Wilks and new captain Tommy Rowe putting them in control. Marko Marosi was in inspired form after making some crucial saves as he and the Rovers defence saw out the game in Essex, despite a late fight back by the Shrimpers.

Brief history of Wycombe Wanderers

Wycombe Wanderers play their home games at the 10,137-capacity Adams Park ground, which has been their home since 1990, following their re-location from Loakes Park.

They are nicknamed the Chairboys because of the tradition of chair-making in the town of High Wycombe, with their first ever team made from young furniture trade works in the late-1880s.

The Chairboys have domestic cup pedigree, embarking on two famous cup runs over the last 20 years. They reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup during the 2001/02 season whilst in Division 2, defeating Division 1 sides Grimsby Town, Wimbledon and Wolves, before beating Premier League side Leicester City in the quarter-final. They met Liverpool in the semi-final at Villa Park, narrowly missing out on an historic final place to the eventual winners, losing out 2-1.

They also made the semi-finals of the League Cup during the 2006/07 season, losing out over two legs to Chelsea, despite a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Adams Park.

Wycombe are making their return to the third tier this season, following automatic promotion from League Two at the end of April, ensuring they would be playing in this division for the first time since 2012. Their latest promotion would be their fourth rise from the league’s bottom tier, after promotions in 1994, 2009 and 2011.

Who’s the gaffer?

Former Chairboys player Gareth Ainsworth is the man at the helm at Adams Park, being in charge in Buckinghamshire since September 2012, initially starting in a caretaker role following the departure of Gary Waddock. He continued in his role as player-manager until the end of the 2012/13 season after steering the Chairboys away from the threat of relegation.

This will be Ainsworth’s seventh season in charge of the Chairboys, finally sealing his first promotion as a manager last season, after a failed play-off attempt in 2015, losing out to Southend United on penalties.

Ainsworth has taken charge of 312 Wanderers games, winning 130 of them, whilst drawing 79 and losing 103, leaving him with a win percentage of 41.7 per cent.

Ones to watch

Adebayo Akinfenwa

One of the most well-known figures across the lower leagues of the EFL, the Chairboys front man can cause most defences problems with him powerful playing style.

Akinfenwa arrived at Adams Park in 2016, following play-off success with AFC Wimbledon, where he scored a stoppage-time penalty in the 2-0 win over Plymouth Argyle at Wembley Stadium. Akinfenwa spent time in red and white hoops in 2004, making nine appearances for Rovers, scoring four goals, including the opener in a 2-0 win over Cambridge United at Belle Vue, securing promotion from Division 3.

Akinfenwa has made than 600 career appearances during his time around the EFL, including spells at Torquay United, Swansea City and Northampton Town.

Joe Jacobson

The Chairboys fan favourite is entering his fifth season with the club, following his move from Shrewsbury Town in 2014. Jacobson was an instrumental figure in the Chairboys play-off campaign in his first season, with his free-kick in extra-time putting them in front in the final against Southend, before they missed out on penalties.

He made the League Two Team of the Year in 2016, and once again he was a key player in their promotion from the fourth tier last season, scoring six times in League Two.

Adam El-Abd

The experienced defender has made close to 500 career appearances, including more than 300 league appearances for Brighton and Hove Albion between 2003 and 2014. His time with the Seagulls saw him help them to promotion to the Championship in 2011, before making a move to Bristol City, going on to be a part of the squad that would be promoted from League One in 2015.

After loan spells with Bury, Swindon Town and Gillingham, El-Abd signed for Shrewsbury Town in 2016, before making the move to Adams Park last season, making 43 appearances during the Chairboys promotion, also being named by Ainsworth as team captain during the last campaign.

Last time out

Wycombe came out on top the last time the two sides met, with a 2-1 victory for the Chairboys back in April 2017 after Rovers had already sealed promotion back to League One. Two goals from Luke O’Nien either side of Alfie May’s strike for Rovers saw the Chairboys force their way in to the play-off race late on in the season.

The last game at the Keepmoat Stadium was a thriller, with Matt Bloomfield’s strike for the visitors being cancelled out by Tommy Rowe, before a superb solo effort from John Marquis put Rovers in front at the break. Bloomfield would go on to strike late on however, scoring inside the final 10 minutes, ensuring both teams would go home with a point apiece.

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