A mounting injury list is likely to prompt Gareth Ainsworth out of retirement from his playing career in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy tie with Northampton Town.Two new knocks sustained in tackles during Saturday’s clash with Colchester United have once again disrupted pre-match preparations, in addition to Joe Jacobson’s late withdrawal from the weekend fixture due to an injury picked up in training.
The left-back is expected to be missing for 10-12 weeks and enters a treatment room which now contains more than a third of the entire squad, including Myles Weston and Paris Cowan-Hall, who are both approximately four weeks away from a return, plus Scott Brown who will be out for another 12 weeks, while Max Muller who may not be fully match-fit until the New Year, and Luke O’Nien is undergoing regular assessments on the problem which has kept him sidelined since the opening day.
Ainsworth – whose last professional match came in May 2013 – will name himself amongst the substitutes for the game at Sixfields and could come off the bench to relieve the pressure on his first-team regulars who may be playing their seventh game in a 24-day period.
Chairman Andrew Howard said: “The fundamental structure of the squad has been decimated by injuries which is now having a catastrophic effect, and it means the team haven’t been able to reach their full potential with such a wealth of talent currently missing from the squad, particularly in terms of the pace and width in attack.
“Their absences are in turn putting extra demand on those lads in the team and resulting in more injuries along the way. Every member of that dressing room is determined and desperate to run through brick walls for each other, and many are playing through the pain, but there’s only so much the body can take and sometimes you need to stop and allow yourself to recover.
“They are all contributing everything they can, and if that means that the manager has to pull his boots on again for the cause then that epitomises the spirit we have here.
“What we do need is patience and understanding from the supporters. It’s a long season and we are well equipped to challenge towards the right end of the table once we have our full weaponry available. It will be an exciting time when that day arrives and in the meantime, please get behind the management staff and the players to help them make the best of the situation we have.
“Wycombe Wanderers is all about digging deep, giving everything, working together and picking each other up every time we get knocked down. If everyone can share that philosophy then the results, enjoyment and success will come.”