Gareth Ainsworth expressed his ‘huge amount of respect’ for Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson and expects a different game compared to Wycombe’s 1-0 win over Posh in November earlier this season.
Bryn Morris made the difference when the sides faced at Adams Park with a deflected free-kick which saw the Chairboys extend what turned out to be a six-game win streak at home in the league, but Ainsworth believes Saturday’s fixture will be an even closer affair.
“There’s different factors now; a different manager and a different team. Darren Ferguson is a guy who I’ve got huge amounts of respect for; he’s given me snippets of advice throughout my career as I’ve come up against him and we’ve had some good battles, so I’m expecting nothing less than that and a drink with Darren after the game.
“We’re both in a sticky patch and something's got to give. They’re missing their striker Ivan Toney this week, we’re missing Scotty Kashket, but Luke Bolton comes back into the frame after concussion protocols so we’re strong, we’re looking forward to the game and, like I say, he’s a top manager and this will be a tough game and I don’t think it will be the same as when we faced them at home.”
The Blues suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Gillingham at the weekend, but one of the positives was the appearance of Anthony Stewart who slotted in seamlessly at centre-back in the absence of Adam El-Abd through suspension, and Ainsworth was impressed with his performance.
“The performance from Anthony on Saturday was superb and I’m sure he’s pleased with himself. There was almost a clean sheet and there was very little he could have done about the goal but he’ll be going up to Peterborough with a lot of confidence in his performance from Saturday and I expect nothing short of the same from him again.
“Considering there is no reserve team here and the players who don’t play don’t don’t get the benefit of 90 minutes in a serious competition, it’s amazing to see what he did and I really mean that.”
The Chairboys are unfortunate to find themselves on a run of three consecutive defeats having gone five games unbeaten previous to their current run, but Ainsworth believes morale in the camp is still as high as ever.
“Saturday's game was a tough one to witness because I knew we were on top for large periods, I knew we were dominating, we were playing some good football but we just couldn’t find that finishing touch, and when you do that you’ve got to be careful it doesn’t come back to bite you and it did.
“The boys are in high spirits as always and I don’t expect anything else. I’ll never come in and put a cloud over this place, believe me. It’ll always be a fun place to work if you do your best and that’s the way I manage, that’s the way I work and no doubt it’ll be the same this weekend.
“There’s no serious pressure on us, we just want to play to our potential. We know our potential is good enough and we also know we are one of the smallest clubs in this league but what a fantastic league this is. We want to stay in it and we can give ourselves a great chance of that with a win on Saturday.”