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Gareth: “We thrive on positivity”

Boss is optimistic ahead of the run-in.

8 March 2018

Gareth Ainsworth says he and his players have put back-to-back defeats behind them as they seek a return to winning ways when Cambridge United visit Adams Park on Saturday.

The Blues boss saw his side slip to successive losses for the first time in a year when Morecambe and Coventry City left south Bucks with three points each, before an opportunity to bounce back at Crawley Town was wiped out when the freezing weather forced a postponement last weekend.

Now the Chairboys are hoping their hard work on the training ground will pay dividends at the weekend when they face an in-form United outfit.

“As a player you have to get defeats out of your system quickly and that’s what we’ve done,” Ainsworth said. “For a couple of our players (loanees Tafari Moore and Nathan McGinley), they hadn’t tasted defeat since they joined us which was fantastic, but now they’ve had that experience and it’s up to them and their team-mates to adapt and move on.

“It hurt to lose those games, but we’re looking at the 35 games we’ve played which have put us fourth in the league, not at the two games where we picked up zero points. We thrive on positivity here; we’ve got a great bunch of lads and we’re looking for consistency and total focus now.

“We need to iron out mistakes and make as few as possible between now and the end of the season. If we can do that, and keep scoring freely when we go forward like we have been, then that will be the key to our success,” he added.

Wycombe are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel for long-term injury absentees Michael Harriman, Sido Jombati and Anthony Stewart, while Ainsworth also had an update on Scott Kashket, Sam Saunders and Randell Williams who have missed recent games.

“Harri’s got his boots on now and is back out there with the boys, though he’s still a little while away from full fitness which we knew would be the case after such a serious injury. Scott Kashket has been out with a thigh problem but he’s back to fitness now, and Sido has played a big part in training recently and he’s ready to be called upon.

“Randell went back to (parent club) Watford for treatment after he picked up a strain here, and they’ve looked after him fantastically well. He played for their under-23s this week and comes back firing on all cylinders. Our forwards have been fantastic but he’s definitely got something in him as well; a spark which can turn a game, and I’m sure he’ll get his chance.

“Sam Saunders is a little bit behind, and Anthony is still working inside but we’ll be seeing him outside again very soon. It’ll be a big boost to have them back for the end of the season.”

Results across the division generally went in Wycombe’s favour in midweek, despite them slipping a place due to Notts County’s draw at Cheltenham, though Ainsworth says he’s not interested in the fortunes of other clubs which are out of his hands.

“It’s great if other teams do you a favour but I teach my lads that it’s what we do that counts. We’ve got a real work ethic and a togetherness here and it’d be naïve for us to be relying on other clubs; we’ve got to do it ourselves. You don’t get anything in this world if you don’t work for it, and I believe that when you do work extra hard then you get the rub of the green.

“We are totally focused on what we can do; the season rests on us - the boys and the staff – and we’ll be giving everything we can to make sure nothing outside us can affect that.”

Touching on Cambridge, Ainsworth added: “They’re having a similar season to last year but they’ll be looking to put a run together to get into the top seven; they’ve still got 30 points to play for. We know we’re in for a tough task, but if we can reach the levels we know we’re capable of then we can beat teams and I’m hoping we can perform consistently from now on.”

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