Wycombe Wanderers retained numerous players from their Championship season in hope of a quick return to the second division.
The Chairboys return 22 goals from last season in the form of 10 players who found their way onto the score sheet, including captain Joe Jacobson who produced five goals last season.
However, the goals this season have come from Garath McCleary, with the veteran winger securing a team-high of five so far. Add in veteran Sam Vokes to the equation, and the Chairboys create chances in droves.
In a high-tempo, high-attacking style of Ainsworth, Wycombe Wanderers have scored 23 goals across all competitions this season but have conceded 25.
Six of those goals did come against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the Carabao Cup while another three goals were conceded to an experienced and ruthless Aston Villa U21s team in the Papa John’s Trophy. It’s not just cup matches, however, Morecambe and Sunderland both scored three past Ainsworth’s side.
Here are your ones to watch:
“The Beast” or “The Strongest Man in Football”. Call Adebayo Akinfenwa whatever you like, but he is one of the most recognized faces of the English Football League pyramid outside of the topflight.
Rovers’ fans will remember the forward from his 2009 campaign at Keepmoat Stadium where he scored four goals in nine appearances. Having spent time at clubs from the Championship down to the semi-pro level, Akinfenwa has given his talents to clubs from the likes of Barry Town in the Welsh Premier League all the way through Swansea City, Millwall, AFC Wimbledon and of course Wycombe Wanderers.
Arriving at Adams Park on an initial one-year contract in 2016, Akinfenwa became the club’s top goal scorer in the EFL in February 2020 - recording his 54th goal for the club against Rovers.
In 2018, he was named the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Season. This season, Akinfenwa has played in 11 matches with nine of these appearances coming off the bench. He has so far scored just one goal.
Joe Jacobson has played and started in all 14 matches for Wycombe Wanderers this season. He captains the team as a left back and has made more than 320 career appearances for the Chairboys since his arrival to Adams Park in 2014.
The former captain of the Wales U21 National Team, Jacobson has scored more than 30 goals in his Chairboys career.
He began his career at hometown club Cardiff City in 2005, before eventually making his way to Bristol Rovers four years later.
In May 2021, he earned “Player’s Player” accolades, voted for by the Wycombe Wanderers playing squad. This season, Jacobson has delivered more crosses into the box than any of his team-mates with 88. He is also one of the most fouled players, has collected a team-best 29 interceptions, and is second on the team with 23 tackles won. He’s also chipped in with a goal.
Born in Oxford, Garath McCLeary represents Jamaica on the international stage.
His youth career began at hometown club Oxford United, but McCleary inked his first professional contract with Slouth Town before making his way to Nottingham Forest in 2008. He spent four years at Forest, scoring 13 goals in 111 appearances for the club.
He made the switch to Reading in 2012 spending eight seasons at the Madejski (2012-20), netting 23 goals for the club. McCleary arrived at Adams Park in November 2020 as a free transfer.
On the international level, McCleary aided the Jamaican National Team from 2013-16, registered three goals in 24 senior appearances.
Last season, McCleary netted four goals for the Chairboys in the club’s EFL Championship campaign, but is on track for his most prolific season of his career with five goals already to his name in just 10 matches played across all competitions. He has registered 15 shots so far with eight of those going on target (53.3%). He also holds a 1.80 shots per game count, adding a 0.63 goals per shots on-target total.
Wearing the No.9 shirt, Vokes embodies the “old-fashioned” centre forward. He is usually deployed up top for manager Gareth Ainsworth’s high-attacking squad, Vokes is a seasoned veteran striker that has scored goals in the top three divisions of the football pyramid.
Having begun his senior career at Bournemouth in 2006, Vokes played for a number of teams such as Wolverhampton, Leeds United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley and Stoke City.
Vokes was a member of the Burnley squad that participated in the Premier League in 2014-15 under manager Sean Dyche, as well as the 2016-17 season in the club’s return to topflight football.
He scored his first Premier League goal against Liverpool in August 2016, after missing much of the 2014-15 Premier League campaign through injury. In July 2021, Vokes arrived to Adams Park after signing with Wycombe Wanderers on an undisclosed fee.
Internationally, he represented Wales since 2008 contributing to one of the country’s most successful periods on the football pitch helping them climb from 117th in the FIFA World rankings to a high of 8th. He earned 60 caps for his country scoring double-digit goals.
In the 2021-22 campaign, Vokes has scored three goals and posted two assists. He has produced 31 shots with 12 of those registering on-target, in addition to a 38.7% shot on-target ratio.