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Gareth: Togetherness is what we thrive on

Boss takes a moment to reflect.

23 December 2021

Gareth Ainsworth has reflected on the great shame that Wanderers fans won't be able to come together on Boxing Day, but knows that the club's future looks bright with family values at its core.

The Blues are without a game on Boxing Day due to the postponement of the fixture with Cambridge United due to Covid-19 cases in the visitors' squad, and therefore attention turns to the trip to Ipswich Town on Wednesday night instead.

Discussing the postponement and ongoing uncertainty about the fixture schedule in the midst of the latest Omicron outbreak, Ainsworth said: "First and foremost, I've got to give credit to my medical staff. Cian (O'Doherty, Head of Medical) gets a bit of stick from the boys because of all the rules he puts in place, but we are minimal here in terms of positive Covid cases and hopefully we can stay that way.

"Cian, Isaac (Leckie), Aly (Vogelzang) and Dr Bob (Sangar) have done a great job, and maybe we've had some good fortune as well, but some clubs have been hit hard.

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"We were ready to go against Cambridge and we wanted to play. We're in a good place, we've got momentum behind us, but you've got to respect others and hopefully everyone can recover soon. I feel like the pandemic is coming to an end and I hope this is the last burst of this variant and we can get back to normality soon. As a club, we're doing everything we can, and trying to stay socially distanced, but it's hard. Togetherness is what we thrive on.

"I think this will be my first Boxing Day off in 32 years!," he added. "I was going to go to Gillingham to watch Ipswich, but that's been called off as well, so instead I'll be watching football on TV at home. I want the boys to enjoy Christmas with their families because I'll be asking for a massive effort from them after that with all the big games coming up."

The game at Ipswich will be played in front of a crowd of well over 25,000, with the Tractor Boys putting on a ticket promotion to attract plenty more home fans, particularly with this being the first match under the management of new boss Kieran McKenna.

"We have no idea what's coming," Ainsworth admitted. "They've got a new manager who's highly regarded in football circles, so it's very up in the air how they're going to play. But we'll be working on what we're good at. These are some fantastic fixtures coming up and we want them to go ahead because we'll be well up for them."

The Chairboys chief also paid tribute to David Roberton, who passed away this week after a battle with cancer. The 73-year-old had been instrumental in various roles across the club, not least in supporting Ainsworth during his early years as manager.

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"When I got the message about David, it stopped me in my tracks. I just have so much respect for that man. He never had a bad bone in his body and was always so supportive of this club.

"He did it all for nothing; just because of his love of the club. He was a phenomenal guy and I'm so proud to have made a success of this club together with David because he played a part in this journey. He's left his mark on this club and I'll always remember him as a guy who would do anything for you, he didn't want to burden anyone, and my prayers go out to his family and close friends.

"It's moments like this that make you realise how together we are as a club. Football is high on my priority list, but family and people are higher, and you must always get your values right.

"Christmas is about being together, and we've got this family here where once you're in it, you're in it forever. I'm lucky that I'll be in this club forever.

"Enjoy Christmas, be proud of what we've achieved, because this is a great football club. The boys realise how lucky we all are; we stay humble, and that's our strength. The fans are always behind us, and I'm very proud of that, so thanks for all your support, have a fantastic Christmas, and get behind us again at the next game because we'll need you."

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