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In opposition: Wycombe Wanderers - ones to watch

1 April 2022

Having spent last season in the Sky Bet Championship for the first time in their history, Wycombe did well to retain the majority of their squad upon returning to the third tier.

After initially looking like favourites for automatic promotion this season, a rocky run of results at the end of January and start of February have meant they are now battling to secure a play-off place.

The Chairboys like to play with a high tempo and have scored a lot of goals off the back of that, with 62 so far this season. They have scored three of more goals on nine occasions, with Sam Vokes leading the line as top-scorer with 12 goals to his name. Vokes has been helped out by Brandon Hanlan and Garath McCleary, who have each found the net seven times.

David Stockdale has been a reliable figure in goal, keeping 17 clean sheets in all competitions.

Joe Jacobson 

Jacobson has started 39 matches in all competitions for the Chairboys this season. He captains the team from left back, and has made more than 340 appearances for the club since his arrival at Adams Park in 2014. 

The Welsh U21 international is approaching 50 league goals in his career, with 36 of those coming for Wycombe. He had spells with the likes of Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury Town prior to his move to his current club. He has been a crucial figure in helping them consolidate themselves as a top end Sky Bet League One outfit.

His performances at the back have also been instrumental in them keeping 17 clean sheets this season. 

Garath McCleary 

Born in Oxford, McCLeary was eligible and subsequently decided to represent Jamaica on the international level. With his youth career beginning at hometown club Oxford United, McCleary joined Nottingham Forest in 2008. He would spend four years at the City Ground, scoring 13 goals in 111 appearances for the club. 

His form with Forest lead to a move to Reading in 2012, where he would go on to spend eight years with the club, making 270 appearances in the process. During that time, McCleary earned 24 caps for Jamaica. The 34-year-old arrived at Adams Park in November 2020, and added some much needed Championship experience to the squad. He has already backed up four goals last season with seven in the current campaign, and will be key to their hopes of making the top six.

Adebayo Akinfenwa 

The beast, as he is affectionately known throughout football, is set to retire at the end of the season after scoring almost 200 league goals in more than 20 years as a professional. Rovers fans will remember him fondly for the brief spell he had at the club towards the end of the 2003/04 campaign. He scored four goals in nine appearances to help Dave Penney’s side to the League Two title. He moved onto Torquay United that summer and continued his goalscoring exploits, earning him a move to Swansea City.

He has since had two spells with both Northampton Town and Gillingham, as well as AFC Wimbledon, prior to signing for Wycombe in 2016. After only initially signing a one-year deal, Akinfenwa has gone onto break records during his time at Adams Park, including becoming the club’s leading EFL goalscorer with a goal against Rovers in February 2020.

He has continued to be a threat against any opposition and has five goals in what is set to be his final one in the EFL, including one against Rovers in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign.

Sam Vokes 

A product of the AFC Bournemouth Academy, Vokes worked under former Rovers boss Sean O’Driscoll on the south coast before his impressive form earned a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2008. 

The Welsh striker spent four years at Molineux but started just four league games in that time, spending time out on loan at several clubs including Sheffield United, Norwich City and Burnley before making a permanent move to Turf Moor.

Vokes played a key role in helping the Clarets win promotion to the Premier League and then establish themselves at the top level. He scored more than 50 league goals for the club before signing for Stoke City in 2019. After two years at the Bet365 Stadium, he made the move to Wycombe in the summer, and already has 12 goals to his name this season.

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