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Ainsworth: This squad excites me

28 June 2014

Wanderers chief Gareth Ainsworth says a summer of change is cause for optimism ahead of the 2014/15 season.

Speaking in a special interview with Phil Catchpole for BBC Three Counties Radio, Ainsworth said he was pleased with his new acquisitions and believes the Blues will enjoy a far more prosperous campaign than the last one:

"This season coming is the first time it's actually been my squad, with no players that I've inherited, and that's really important to me.

"I think maybe the squad was a little too big last year and we tried to accommodate too many people. But you learn as you go and thankfully the club have given me time to learn these lessons and I want to pay that back.

"As a team we were quite short last year and now I think you have to win the battle in League 2. So we've signed some big players who have got quality as well, and you'll see that with Peter Murphy scoring goals from midfield, Sido Jombati flying up and down the wings and obviously everyone knows what Aaron Pierre and Paul Hayes are about.

"So I'm really pleased with what's happening so far and the signings we've made, and hopefully we can add a few more to that and see where we go."

Former Accrington Stanley man Peter Murphy made a point of saying how much he felt wanted by Ainsworth and his staff, which was a major factor in his decision to join the club, and the boss says that kind of man management is at the core of his approach:

"It's something to be proud of. It's not just myself and Dobbo (assistant manager Richard Dobson), but it's also Wycombe Wanderers which has got a great history, it's got a magnetism and people want to come here.

"When I take new players round the stadium and round the training ground, they are big plus points. I want my players to feel wanted. We've got a history of moving players on to higher levels and helping them improve, and hopefully some of these lads will play higher but they'll give their all to us first and help us have a much better season than last year."

Ainsworth's transfer dealings are not completed yet, and he identified one particular position as one which needs to be filled, whilst reiterating his desire to retain Anthony Stewart who has yet to make a decision on his future:

"There's no recognised left-back in the squad so there's an opportunity there. Aaron Pierre and Sam Wood do great jobs playing there but I'd like to release Sam into the midfield and he can be an outstanding talent for us on the wing if we get the right full-back in behind him.

"We need cover as well, and we need players who can play in a couple of positions. Players like Danny Rowe were a great example of that last season, and obviously the money here is tight so we'll have to bring in a couple of surprise names that people may not have heard of, and they'll have to prove themselves on the pitch. Boys like Danny last year are fantastic to get and you can find real diamonds.

"With Anthony, I want to keep him, but if he doesn't sign and he moves elsewhere then hopefully we'll be due some compensation and we'll have to get on with the next one. I've got the squad I want at the moment and if I do lose one, fair enough and I'll replace him, but I'll worry about that if and when it happens."

The 41-year-old was reluctant to declare a target for the season ahead, but he said his team will go into each game with no fear and see where it takes them:

"I don't want to go to a game fearing anyone - we can always beat teams in this league. You watch the World Cup and feel that all the teams are in it, whether it's Brazil or Iran - it's been very competitive.

"We're Wycombe Wanderers and we're proud to wear that badge. I'll make sure the players are out there giving their all and the season will be a lot different to the last one!

"I'm not going to make a prediction about where we'll finish - you either fall flat on your face or set yourself up to be shot down, so I just want to predict that we can go into every game believing we can do it."

Thanks to Phil Catchpole and Pauline Collings for their help with this article.

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