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Gareth: It's brilliant to be back

Boss raring to go for Sunderland fixture.

6 January 2022

Gareth Ainsworth returned to Marlow Road this week after spending seven days in isolation following a positive Covid-19 test result, and says he's excited to be back in the dugout for Saturday's game against Sunderland at Adams Park (k.o. 12.30pm).

The Chairboys chief was forced to watch from home as his side went down 1-0 to Ipswich Town last Wednesday, but bounced back with a superb 1-0 triumph at Charlton at the weekend.

"I was fortunate not to have had any symptoms, but obviously if I was carrying the virus then it was the right thing to stay at home and prevent it from spreading," he said.

"It was hard to watch the games without being involved, but we had a good setup including FaceTime calls to our analyst Josh Hart, an earpiece direct to Matt Bloomfield on the bench, and me watching on iFollow! It seemed to work well for us and it was great to get the win at Charlton, but I don't want to have to go through that too often and it's brilliant to be back in the building this week.

"There's a really good spirit around the place, as there always is. We've had a good week off the back of an important win, and the boys are all excited to get stuck into this great run of games we've got coming up in January, starting with Sunderland on Saturday."

Wanderers went down 3-1 to the Black Cats in the reverse fixture in August, and Lee Johnson's side are currently unbeaten in the league since early November, defeating Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 in their last outing.

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"We know it's going to be tough; they're in the top two for a reason and on great form at the moment. We actually performed well up at their place in August and I don't think the scoreline reflected the game and the chances that each team had, but it was an early learning curve for us this season and hopefully we're stronger this time around and able to get the right result."

The January transfer window is open for business, but Ainsworth says he's in no rush to bring in reinforcements, knowing his current crop of Chairboys have what it takes to compete strongly in the battle for promotion.

"We've got targets in mind, but we're also in a good place in terms of the quality and depth we've got in the squad. Injury-wise it's only Dominic Gape and Nick Freeman who are the long-termers; there's always a couple of niggles here and there but it won't be panic stations if we don't bring anyone in. One or two extra additions might help us, but we also have to be mindful that the pandemic might affect the transfer market and clubs might not want to let players go if they think they might need them to play if they lose players to positive cases.

"We're in a great place midway through the season and we go into each game knowing we can be a match for any team in this league, and ultimately we want to get back into the Championship and we'll keep giving everything we've got to make it happen."

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