Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth says he’s optimistic about his side’s chances of beating the drop, believing the strong recent performances of late will soon be translated into the results they need to ensure League 1 survival.
The Blues had promotion chasers Portsmouth and Charlton on the ropes at times in the past week, just being denied at least a share of the points by combinations of expert goalkeeping and misfortune in front of goal, succumbing to defeats which extend their winless run to 12 games.
Next, they head to a Southend side sitting one place and one point beneath them, on a winless streak of 13 matches themselves – but Ainsworth says there is no need for his side to feel pressure.
“People can see we’re on a slide and a bad run of losses, but some of our performances have been superb,” he said. “We’re creating chances - we out-shot Portsmouth and Charlton – and we’ve been playing some good football and pressing teams really well. We’ve been unfortunate, but we know we have more than a fighting chance of staying up, and I’m buoyed by the way we’ve been playing.
“The boys believe that if they keep playing this way, it will be enough to stay up, and I’m not going to burst their bubble because I agree. We’ve got momentum with the performances we’ve been putting in, but we just need to take every opportunity now. I’d love us to play well and deserve our victories, but equally I’d just love us to get the wins we need, however they come. You want to deserve what you get, but we haven’t been getting what we deserve.
“I don’t feel pressure, though. I’ve been through a lot tougher times in football and in life, and you only feel pressure if you cut corners or don’t do your job properly. I go to bed every night with my head held high because I know I’m giving my best, and the boys do too. If it comes up short, what more can you give? The fans have been fantastic, the board have been great in digging deep to help in any way they can, and we’re all doing the best we can for this club. I’m very proud of everyone for pushing in the same direction, and I know we will be fine.”
Southend will look forward to a first home game under new boss Kevin Bond, who oversaw an upturn in performance in the 2-2 draw at Fleetwood last Saturday, and Ainsworth knows the Shrimpers are capable of providing a stern test.
“They’ve just changed their manager and it will be an interesting game to see how they set up against us,” he said. “I was desperately disappointed to see Chris Powell lose his job there because he’s an awesome guy and a very good manager, but I know they’ve had some terrible luck with injuries which hasn’t helped them. They’ve got a good squad there and I’m sure they’ll be fighting for the three points just like we will be.”
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