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Gareth: I can’t praise the boys enough

Manager hails squad for delivering 12-point target... but they mustn't stop there.

18 October 2021

Gareth Ainsworth says he has massive admiration for delivering a target of collecting four straight wins – but doesn’t want them to stop there, with preparations well underway for the clash with fellow high-flyers Rotherham on Tuesday night.

The Blues boss laid down the challenge after his side were harshly defeated at MK Dons last month and the players responded with triumphs against Shrewsbury, Morecambe, Gillingham and Doncaster to launch themselves into second place in the table.

“I’m so proud of the squad,” he said after the win at Doncaster on Saturday. “I asked for four wins and even the eternal optimist in me might’ve been secretly pleased with nine or 10 points, but they’ve taken all 12 and I can’t praise them enough.

“The fans turned up in good numbers as well and got behind us. They kept singing and cheering throughout.

“We’re in a good place, we’re all together, and hopefully we can achieve something this year.”

Ainsworth received the green light from the board to arrange a long weekend in Yorkshire to reduce travel times between the Doncaster and Rotherham fixtures, and says the investment into preparing in the best way possible is a sign of the times at the club.

“We’ve been given the opportunity to stay up here and prepare in the right way, which is brilliant,” he said. “We want to be Championship standard in everything we do, and it’s a sign of this club’s intentions that it’s been made possible for us to do this.

“As long as you keep hold of the values you had when you had nothing, that’s really important. And we always will do. I’m really grateful for the backing I’ve received as manager and I’ll never take it for granted.”

And so on to Rotherham, where the Blues have enjoyed victories in each of their three most recent visits, but Ainsworth knows the Millers pose one of the sternest tests so far, having smashed Portsmouth 4-1 on Saturday.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Rotherham. They’re showing their qualities; they’ve just beaten Portsmouth comfortably which is no mean feat, so we’ll need to be at our best.

“But we concentrate on ourselves and this club is in a much better place than it’s ever been, so thank you to everyone who’s been part of it.

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