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Gareth sees plenty of signs of encouragement

Manager impressed with his side's showing against West Ham.

16 July 2018

Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth said he was proud of his players for going toe-to-toe with Premier League side West Ham United in their narrow 1-0 loss in Saturday’s opening pre-season friendly.

Two experimental line-ups for each half, including five trialists, came up against a star-studded Hammers outfit including big money summer signings Issa Diop and Andriy Yarmolenko, but the Chairboys came close to snatching a draw after carving out a series of second-half chances in a bid to cancel out Marko Arnautovic’s opener.

“We got what we wanted which was to get minutes out of the boys, but on top of that I’m proud of my team for keeping a Premier League to just one goal,” he said after the game.

“There was a lot of money out there on the pitch in the away team but we matched them for chances and could’ve nicked a draw. They’ve got a great manager and they’ll push on from here, but for me all the signs were encouraging,” he added.

Ainsworth added Curtis Thompson to his squad on a five-month contract just moments before kick-off and hinted that there may be further deals to come – particularly in the loan market – after being impressed by the displays of his trialists.

“There are always signings in the pipeline but it’s a question of what we’ve got left to spend,” he explained. “I’m hoping for some loan deals at least, but the boys who’ve come in today have impressed me.

“If you go back a couple of years, both Nick Freeman and Luke O’Nien forging Wycombe careers through being on trial here is evidence enough for us to keep on searching in this way. Opinions can be changed, and just because someone has said ‘no’ to a player in the past isn’t solid proof that a career cannot be achieved elsewhere.”

Wanderers are back in action at Adams Park against Championship side Brentford on Tuesday night and Ainsworth says building match fitness will again be the focus.

“We’re looking forward to Brentford on Tuesday and getting more minutes out of the boys. We have to take a ‘slowly, slowly’ approach because we can’t afford to pick up injuries, and I trust our medical staff and our players to make sure we’re firing on all cylinders for the league game against Blackpool on day one, because that’s what it’s all about.

“We’ve kept the majority of the squad together, we know what we are and how we play, and we know our strengths,” he finished.

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