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In opposition this season: Wycombe Wanderers

14 July 2014

Club News

In opposition this season: Wycombe Wanderers

14 July 2014

The Grecians’ second of two home games this October will see the Chairboys of Wycombe Wanderers return to Devon. Oliver Roderick takes a look at another of the Grecians’ opponents this term.

Last season
Wycombe Wanderers retained their Football League status by the narrowest of margins, as a final-day 3-0 win at Plainmoor ensured it was the Chairboys who stayed up at the expense of Torquay United and Bristol Rovers.

After what had been a decent enough start, in which Wanderers won six of their opening twelve games, Wycombe would only win one of their next seventeen, a run which saw them plummet to the bottom of League 2. 

However, five crucial wins between then and the end of the season, including a 1-0 win at St James Park, kept the club up by the skin of their teeth.

The summer so far
Wycombe didn’t get their summer off to the best of starts as they were fined £10,000 by the FA for an irregularity in the transfer of Matt Phillips to Blackpool four years ago – Bristol Rovers, who were relegated at the end of last season, have queried whether Wanderers should also have had a points deduction.

It’s been more positive since then: Sam Wood and Steven Craig have signed new deals, soon to be followed by Tommy Fletcher, Stuart Lewis, Junior Morias, Matt Bloomfield and Charlie Horlock. In an interesting move, reigning British GT3 champion Andrew Howard joined the club’s board.

They have signed three players: Paul Hayes was the first arrival having been released by Scunthorpe after his promotion last year. Peter Murphy has arrived from Accrington Stanley, while Joe Jacobson signed after being released by Shrewsbury. 

The manager

Gareth Ainsworth became Wycombe Wanderers manager on a full-time basis in April 2013 having previously been both caretaker manager and player-manager at Adams Park.

The man known as the ‘Wild Thing’ at numerous clubs during his playing career (due to his rock star ambitions and appearance) enjoyed a long playing career that took in spells at the likes of Preston North End, Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers, and had long looked likely to step into management.  

Iain Dowie made him player-coach at QPR, and he went on to fill in as caretaker at Loftus Road after the departures of both Dowie and his successor Paulo Sousa.  He was a candidate for the top job at his former club Lincoln City before heading to Wycombe, initially for a loan spell in late 2009.

Ones to watch

Football League journeyman Paul Hayes returned to Wycombe Wanderers following his release by Scunthorpe United, who were promoted last season. Hayes spent time on loan at Plymouth Argyle in 2013, so is bound to be popular with the St James Park faithful, and he was promoted to the Championship with Barnsley in 2005/06.

Long-serving Matt Bloomfield, who has recently signed a new contract, was part of the famous Wycombe Wanderers side that reached the League Cup semi-final in 2006, only to be knocked out by Chelsea. He is the club’s current vice-captain.

This fixture isn’t steeped in history – the two sides first met this side of the millennium, with Wanderers winning an LDV Vans Trophy tie 1-0 in December 2000. The Chairboys have the marginally better record, winning five to Exeter’s four.

Wanderers won 1-0 at St James Park last season, with the game at Adams Park a goalless draw.

Exeter City wins: 3
Wycombe Wanderers wins: 5
Draws: 4

Club links

Tommy Doherty had two loan spells at Wycombe before joining the Chairboys permanently in 2008.  During his time at Adams Park, he experienced promotion to League 1 and was named in the League 2 Team of the Season in 2008/09.  He arrived at Exeter City in 2012, and played thirty times before being released midway through last season.

Sam Parkin, the forward who recently departed St James Park, is also a former Chairboy. He made eight appearances for them in a loan spell from Chelsea in 2000/01, and took in spells at a long list of clubs before his year as a Grecian.

Others who’ve played for both include Chris Vinnicombe, Sean Devine, Chris Hackett, Joe Burnell, Craig Woodman, John Cornforth and Paul Buckle.

Key clash
Wycombe Wanderers 0-1 Exeter City, Adams Park, Tuesday 1st January 2013

A penalty save by Artur Krysiak helped Exeter City to a 1-0 victory against Wycombe at Adams Park. 
City had to play much of the game a man light, after Jamie Cureton was sent off in the first half for a kick on a Wanderers defender.

The side could have capitulated when the hosts were awarded a penalty early in the second half.  Krysiak’s save kept parity, and John O’Flynn forced an unlikely winner in the final ten minutes as Kortney Hause deflected the ball into his own net – the Irishman was eventually credited with the goal.

Sky Bet have odds of 50/1 on Wycombe Wanderers winning League 2 this season.  The odds are 10/1 on a Chairboys promotion, while relegation is rated at 13/2 by the League’s official sponsors.

Wycombe travel to Wales to play Newport on the opening day.  It’s 12/5 for a Wanderers win, 19/20 on Newport and 12/5 on the draw.

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