Gareth Ainsworth says his side will carry confidence from their performance against Tottenham Hotspur into Saturday’s Championship encounter with Brentford, as they return to league action after a four-week break.
The Chairboys produced commendable displays in both previous meetings with the Bees this term: the 1-1 League Cup draw in September, and 0-0 stalemate at Adams Park in November’s league meeting.
Brentford are currently on a 17-game unbeaten streak as they look to go one step further than last term by securing promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, and Ainsworth knows to expect one of the toughest challenges so far – but one that is not insurmountable for his men.
“What a good job (Brentford manager) Thomas Frank has done,” he said in the opening to his press conference on Thursday morning. “They’ve got some really classy players, they’re well in their stride at the moment and they play with a real identity. I’ve got massive respect for Thomas and everyone at Brentford; he’s a fantastic manager, a great guy and he’s always had nice things to say about me and my team as well.
“But it would be just like us to go there and cause an upset, and I fully believe we can do that. We were weakened when we played them last time and fully deserved the draw that we got, but I think we’re stronger this time around so let’s see what we can do.
“It would be a big scalp for us, but we’ve been surprising people for eight or nine years now. Every manager in the Championship seems to get frustrated if they don’t beat Wycombe and they expect us to go straight back down, but we’ve got other ideas and we will scrap and fight in every game to give our all to stay in this division.
“We’ve got a lot of games in a short space of time now and we want to get off to a good start by getting something at Brentford on Saturday.”
Their previous FA Cup meeting with Spurs in 2017 was followed by a disappointing run of form as the late heartache appeared to inflict a hangover into subsequent matches, but Ainsworth believes Monday’s efforts may have an opposite effect on his players.
“The boys have come off the pitch knowing they’d taken one of the best teams in the country all the way up until the 85th minute and then just fell short at the end, but now they’re itching to get back out there and pick up their league form knowing they can compete against any side at this level.
“Monday night was a bright point for us. It has got to give you hope and confidence going into these league games. We can survive, and we’ve shown that we can play well and pick up wins like we have done against Cardiff and Preston recently.”
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