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Gaz out to inspire a Wembley reverse

11 November 2013

On the sole Wembley appearance of his playing career, Gareth Ainsworth was left distraught by a Wanderers victory.

“We are evolving all the time and the aim is to keep improving year-on-year.”

“This year, I’ve been able to sign a few players and get some of my philosophies over to the squad.

“I’m very contented with the way we have started this season,” he added. "When I took over as manager, the position we were in meant we had to do everything to get results quickly and climb the league.

Under Ainsworth, Wycombe ended last season in 15th spot in League 2, a highly commendable performance given their desperate start, and the Chairboys chief is delighted that his side are now looking up the table rather than nervously glancing over their shoulders.

"We are going to be massive underdogs going into the game at Swindon. But we have had good wins over Exeter and Bristol City in the competition so far and hopefully we can get a big performance and result on the night."

"I had a decent playing career and the management has started okay. I would love to get this club to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final because it would be such a fantastic occasion for everyone involved and cup runs are so important to supporters.

"Back in my days at Preston, we were all so low when we lost that play-off final to Wycombe but it’s gone pretty well for me since then," said Ainsworth.

He has since guided Wycombe to the safer water of mid-table, and is now hoping to write another Wembley chapter by guiding his team through a demanding Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area quarter-final at Swindon on Tuesday night and all the way to the final.

The 40-year-old took over a club stranded at the foot of Sky Bet League 2 and facing the prospect of an almighty fight to preserve their Football League future.

Ainsworth, a member of the Preston North End team beaten 4-2 by Wycombe in the play-off final of 1994, now spends every waking hour pondering how best to eke out further improvement from his Wanderers side, whose performance graph has shown an upward curve since he took his first managerial steps in September 2012.

Almost two decades on and his footballing loyalties have turned full circle.

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