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Gareth: We can't take our foot off the gas

Blues boss previews Cheltenham

16 February 2018

Gareth Ainsworth insists his players can’t afford to take their foot of the gas as they prepare to take on Cheltenham Town at the LCI Rail Stadium this weekend.

The Chairboys take on the Robins looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the calendar year in the league and stretch the run to eight games without defeat against Gary Johnson’s men.

Although spirits are high in the camp after four points in four days, Ainsworth stated that his squad still remain firmly grounded as they prepare for a tough game on Saturday.

“Not leaving Exeter with any injuries was important and then going into Tuesday against Swindon with a fresh squad and being able to make a couple of changes and get the win was a great feeling as a manager.

 “We rotated a couple and Luke O’Nien and Craig Mackail-Smith were fantastic and both scored in the first half which couldn’t have worked out any better.

“It was another last minute winner which shows that the fitness is good and I’ve got to credit the medical team for that, and it was good one in terms of entertainment as well with one of the biggest midweek crowds we’ve had for a long time.

“So it’s all going well at the moment, but the feet are firmly on the ground as always and I want to make sure there is no potential slip-up coming because everyone is flying high at the moment and feeling good.”

Cheltenham gave the Chairboys one of their toughest tests of the season to date when the sides met at Adams Park back in October; playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Previewing the next meeting against Gary Johnson’s Robins, Ainsworth says his team must apply their maximum to come away with the result they want from Whaddon Road.

“Gary Johnson is a good friend and we go back over 20+ years. I’ve got huge respect for him and he has managed at a very high level and also internationally.

“We’re expecting a tough game, Cheltenham are a very big and physical side and they’ve got a dynamo in Mo Eisa who is scoring plenty of goals.

“They’ve got some quality players who have been looked at by clubs higher up, so we’re going to be up for a big challenge on Saturday.

“Pride before a fall is an important saying for us to keep in our heads to ensure we keep working hard and if anything does happen it isn’t through a lack of preparation.

“We’ve got a strong squad, the spirit is good and I’m looking forward to taking a strong squad to Cheltenham.”

The Chairboys received an injury boost last week when Michael Harriman and Sido Jombati returned to the grass after long lay-offs, and both are currently building their fitness up before returning to full training.

The manager also provided an injury update on trio Anthony Stewart, Scott Kashket and Randell Williams.

“Sido Jombati and Michael Harriman are now back on the grass which is great to see.

“Harriman is champing at the bit and he wants to get back involved but we’ve got to be careful with him, a broken leg is something to be wary of and also with Sido and his knee ligaments.

“Anthony Stewart is just a little bit behind them in the treatment room after suffering a nasty calf injury but he is not far behind.

“Scott Kashket has picked up a slight thigh strain which we’re thankful is not his groin or his pelvis, and I always said we are going to get these things with him coming back, we’ve got a plan for him and we’ve got to be really careful with Scotty because I’ve been through what he has been through and you do pick up little knocks and strains and it is a hurdle to get over but he will be back.

“Randell Williams has also picked up a slight strain as well and we will have to patient with him and I’m sure he will play his part when he can.”

Click here and get clued-up on all things Cheltenham vs Wycombe in our Big Match Preview.


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