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Gareth and Jack look ahead to Oxford clash

Another huge game against fellow promotion hopefuls.

13 January 2022

Wycombe's Gareth Ainsworth and Jack Grimmer say they are focused and ready in preparation for the visit of Oxford United on Saturday.

The Chairboys have made an unbeaten start to 2022 and have looked in good form. In the past week they have drawn 3-3 with Sunderland in a high-octane fixture, and came home with a solid 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night.

Ainsworth's troops now have another big challenge on their hands to prepare for as Karl Robinson's Oxford step into Our House this weekend.

"It was a really good game at their place earlier in the season," Ainsworth said. "Karl is a friend and I know he’ll have that team really organised, they’re one of the teams fancied for the play-offs or promotion as well. 

"It's the M40 derby as they call it, sorry Oxford fans - I know they'll be shouting at the radio right now, but we can’t wait for them to come down to Adams Park."

Last time the two teams faced off was back in September, where both sides had to settle for a 0-0 draw at the Kassam Stadium.

Wycombe came out the blocks flying with two early near-miss chances through Sam Vokes, but slowly the hosts grew into the game and forced David Stockdale into producing some top saves, along with a magnificent goalline clearance from Anthony Stewart.

As Grimmer recalls, it was an important point for the Blues.

"We got a great result there after they'd won six or seven on the bounce at home," he stated. "We went and took back a 0-0 draw which was massive for us. 

"It was the typical solid away performance from us on that day."

The Chairboys are on an unbeaten run in 2022, and have only lost one game in their last nine league matches - the 1-0 defeat to Ipswich Town on December 29th. 

Oxford lost their last outing 2-0 to Lincoln City, but are also on a solid run with two defeats in their last nine, and the strength of their squad is evident as they sit 6th in League One, meaning Wycombe will be put through their paces on Saturday afternoon.

"Rolling into Saturday, I'm sure that we are a team to be feared because we are doing so well," Grimmer continued. "We've had good results, there's a good feeling around the place, which goes to all the players and staff for creating that atmosphere. We’re on a good run at the moment for sure. 

"It does have that extra spice anyway because it is Oxford, and makes it a bit more exciting, but if we want to have another moment like that play-off final, it just has to be another game that we get on with.  

"You know fans will be looking forward to that one, you know it's a big game."

Three points will be crucial to keep the momentum going for Wycombe in a fixture-packed January that so often proves to be a stumbling block for teams fighting towards the top of the table. 

And as Ainsworth says, his side haven't been helped by the postponement of games against Bolton and Cambridge United (twice), but must navigate the issues COVID brings in the best way possible.

"Points on the board are always crucial, but we have teams like Wigan who still have plenty of games in hand over us after tonight," the manager pointed out.

"You don't want congestion at the end of the season, and with Cambridge fixtures needing to be played, we won’t want anymore than that.

"We want to try and get as many points as quick as we can on the board. We've got a big game on Saturday now, and we'll be focusing on that" 

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