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Gareth: "They’re all up for this fight"

Boss ready for Pompey challenge.

4 April 2019

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth says he expects ‘nothing more than everything the boys have got’ ahead of the Chairboys’ clash against a promotion pushing Portsmouth at Adams Park on Saturday.

Wanderers are without a win in ten games and will have to overcome a solid Portsmouth side who will be full of confidence after their dramatic Checkatrade Trophy triumph over Sunderland on Sunday.

Despite Pompey’s recent success, Ainsworth still believes his team can defy the odds and pick up a huge three points at the weekend.

“We go into Saturday with absolutely nothing to lose because everyone expects these high flyers to come to Adams Park and turn Wycombe over, but we’ve done it in the past, especially this season.

“We’ve come up against the best and taken them all the way, so I’m expecting nothing more than everything the boys have got and I expect nothing more than a quality Portsmouth side to come to town, so it’s going to be tough.”

After a difficult number of years since they were relegated from the Premier League in 2010, Portsmouth look to be on their way back up the Football League and Ainsworth couldn’t help but express his admiration for the south coast club.

“Everyone has asked why Portsmouth are in these bottom two divisions of English football for the past five or six years. Obviously they’ve had financial issues but it’s a huge club, they took 42,000 to Wembley, it’s a super club with a great history and I’ve got a lot of respect for Portsmouth.

“I remember playing there and being in awe of that club, and as a manager you get a chance to stop and soak up the atmosphere which is great. They’ve had some great players, some great managers and they’ve got one at the moment in Kenny Jackett who was assistant manager when I signed for QPR, and I’ve got a lot of respect for Ken.

“He gets his players working hard and it was great to see them lifting the trophy so I congratulate them for that, but on Saturday I need the points and we’ll be going for it. But it’s a great team to come to town and I’m looking forward to it.”

A number of late goals have seen Wycombe slip down the table to just two points above the relegation zone but Ainsworth insists the spirit amongst the squad is still as high as ever.

“It’s gone past the stage of despair now. I think if these last few games had finished at 90 minutes we’d be sitting on 50 points, which is crazy to think about, but it’s something we’ve got to address of course. It’s not something I’m going to look at and think it’s never going to happen again.

“When we’re in that injury time period we’ve got to make sure we’re solid and we’ve done that so well over the past five years, but lately we’ve just been hit with a couple of sucker punches and it’s tough to take.

“Having said that, what a great group of players I’ve got and what a great group of fans we’ve got. To come and support us the way they have recently and the way the boys are all together is brilliant. We haven’t got a dressing room that will turn on each other and start chucking the towel in, they’re all up for this fight and I’m proud to be the head of that."

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