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Jack: It's set up nicely for a big game

Chairboys defender relishes Sunderland challenge after return to starting XI.

4 January 2022

Wycombe right-back Jack Grimmer says his side's hard-fought victory against Charlton on Saturday puts them in good stead ahead of the crunch Sunderland clash this weekend.

The 27-year-old made a return to the field from the start at The Valley as Sam Vokes' goal proved the vital difference in a tightly-contested affair.

After the loss to Ipswich on last Wednesday, the Chairboys put in a battling performance to keep the Addicks at bay and secure an important three points with three huge home games to come in January, starting with the visit of League One high-flyers Sunderland.

"It was great way to start the New Year," he said. "Especially after the midweek game at Ipswich, who had that sort of new manager bounce, it had been a while for us without a game so I think it blew the cobwebs out and today we were battling, we were hungry and we showed desire, so back to our normal selves.

"We always come out swinging and we showed that again today, which you have to show in a promotion push. We won 1-0, we'll take it and we'll move on ahead of a massive game next weekend."

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Sunderland travel to Adams Park on Saturday for a televised early kick-off, and come into the fixture on a run of four wins and a draw in their last five league matches, including 5-0 demolition jobs over Morecambe and fellow promotion challengers Sheffield Wednesday.

Despite this, Grimmer believes his side are well equipped and in high spirits to get revenge for the reverse fixture back in August.

"They started this season very well," the Scotsman continued. "I felt they were very lucky to beat us at their place and I don't think anyone would disagree, and although they dipped off for a bit, I think no one was in any doubt that they had the strength and depth to come back, which they now have, meaning they found themselves top of the league before the games today. 

"They’ve shown their strength and depth with the way they've dealt with the game load, they got through in the cup and they still managed to win in the league, so it sets it up nicely for a big game.

"We’re both teams in quite decent form, so we've got to be on the front foot being at home, and no doubt we owe them one after that game up there; it's one to look forward to for sure."

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The Chairboys will be able to welcome back manager Gareth Ainsworth to the touchline against the Black Cats, who has missed the last two matches after testing positive for COVID-19 and going into self-isolation.

It will give the squad a huge boost, and Grimmer knows how much the gaffer is looking forward to seeing his players again.

"We went on a Zoom call with him yesterday in training," he reveals. "You know what the gaffer is like, he's itching to get back and I'm sure that he's found it very difficult being at home and not being out there in the battlefield with the boys, but I think it speaks volumes of the staff that you trust them implicitly to step in, and it's been a pretty seamless transition, but we will be looking forward to welcoming him back and I'm just glad that we managed to get the win.

"Afterwards we FaceTimed him in the changing room and he was just delighted. So that one was definitely for the gaffer."

The former Coventry City and Aberdeen man reserved some words of praise for young defender Chris Forino, who has started the last two matches in place of the injured Ryan Tafazolli, putting in two really solid performances at the heart of the Wycombe back line.

"His story is incredible, and he strikes me as the kind of guy that's taking everything in his stride, he's not taking it for granted and he wants to learn. I think playing alongside me, Anthony, JJ, Taf and others, he's only going to get better.

"I find that it helps to keep my mind switched on talking to him through the game and it's a good partnership that we're all kind of getting together and so far, it's worked. It didn't work quite so well at Ipswich, but I think I said to him afterwards that it was a learning curve, and even though we lost, he didn't really put much of a foot long, so he's in a good place right now. 

"He's only going to learn and it's a great club to be at and progress. He's been growing since he's came in, just like a duck to water, he seems to have taken to it quite easily and hopefully he can stay in the team, we can keep winning and keep keeping clean sheets."

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