Gareth Ainsworth believes that his Wycombe side should play with no fear and be excited by the challenge of heading up to the north east where they will face high-flying Sunderland in the league on Saturday.
Wycombe head into the fixture after being knocked out of both the Checkatrade Trophy as well as the FA Cup within a matter of days, whilst the Black Cats go into the weekend having won their last eight matches in all competitions.
The manager, previewing the game on Thursday morning, established how tough it will be to face Jack Ross’ side – one that Ainsworth has been impressed with so far this campaign.
“I saw Sunderland at Port Vale last week and they’re obviously a very strong team; Jack Ross is a great guy and he’s got them playing some excellent football and their record this season and particularly in recent weeks has been first class”.
The manager knows that it will be a tough task facing one of the league’s leading teams; however Ainsworth is looking forward to the occasion, with the hope of causing an upset and giving the travelling fans a performance and result to be proud of.
“We know Sunderland are the favourites to win but we’re going there hoping to ruin a few accumulators and show what we’re capable of. We’ve played well against some of the top teams so far this season and even though Sunderland are on this fantastic run, we’ll be gutted if we don’t come away with anything because we always believe we can match any team on our day.
“We relish these games and we’re looking forward to all being together for the coach journey up on Friday and the overnight stay. Some of our boys will have played at big grounds like the Stadium of Light before but for some of the younger lads it’ll be a new experience and it’s one to be excited about and hold no fear.
“We’re going to go out there with every ambition to get something out of the game and I believe that my players can do it.
“I’ve heard that ticket sales are going really well and we’ll have a fantastic following of away fans up there. It’s a long way to travel but what a stadium to arrive at and watch your team play in. I know they’ll get right behind us, give us their full support throughout and hopefully we can give them something to cheer and make their journey home a happy one”.
This weekend’s fixture may also see former Chairboy Luke O’Nien face the club that he left over the summer. Ainsworth is aware of his qualities and after an enjoyable three-year spell at Wycombe, the manager is hoping that the 23-year-old midfielder will warn his new teammates about what to expect from the visitors.
“I’m sure Luke will be all Sunderland on Saturday but he’ll know exactly what the spirit is and I’m hoping that he’ll be putting a little bit of fear into his teammates saying that they’re not just going to come here an lie down and get beat, they’re going to fight and scrap and we certainly are”.