The Bees are back on home turf this afternoon as they welcome League One side Wycombe Wanderers to The Hive, hoping to make it two wins on the bounce.
Darren Currie’s side will be going into the game full of confidence after beating Berkhamsted 5-1 on Tuesday night, kicking off their pre-season schedule in style.
It only took six minutes for the dead-lock to be broken after Jack Taylor put the Bees one-up, poking home after skipping through two defenders.
The visitors bagged a second just before the half-hour mark as Shaq Coulthirst netted from the spot following a foul on Dan Sparkes.
Two quickly became three though when Taylor bagged his brace in spectacular fashion, finding the top corner from 25 yards out.
The Bees cruised into half-time with a four-goal advantage after Coulthirst netted his second of the game too, tapping in from close range on 38 minutes.
However, Berkhamsted struck first in the second period when Lewis Toomey pulled a goal back but Medy Elito topped off a near-perfect night on 61 minutes.
A Look at the Opposition:
The Chairboys had another season to celebrate last campaign when they maintained their League One status on the final day, beating Fleetwood Town 1-0.
Gareth Ainsworth’s side were promoted to the third tier for the first time in seven years in 2018 and managed to clinch 17th spot with 53 points last term.
With preparations for next campaign well underway, Wycombe welcomed their first summer signing to Adam’s Park on Tuesday, securing the services of attacking midfielder Alex Pattison from Middlesbrough.
The Bees are first up on their pre-season calendar with Woking awaiting them on Tuesday. They then welcome Brentford to Buckinghamshire before heading to Wealdstone and Maidenhead United.
Manager: Gareth Ainsworth
Gareth Ainsworth will be in the opposing dug-out this afternoon in his 10th year associated with Wycombe.
The former midfielder joined the Chairboys on loan in 2009 before penning a permanent deal a year later.
When taking up the managerial role in 2012 after Wycombe’s relegation to League Two, Ainsworth remained a registered player before hanging up his boots six years later.
Initially becoming caretaker boss, he was awarded the role on a permanent basis after steering the club away from a second successive relegation in his debut season.
Ainsworth’s Wycombe would stay in the fourth tier for five more seasons as they flirted with relegation in his second year in charge before losing the play-off final in the next.
Fast forward three years though and he did manage to guide his side back to League One, gaining automatic promotion after finishing third, four points clear of the play-offs.
He also led Wycombe to the fourth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in the club’s history during the 2016-17 season. However, their dream run ended at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, losing 4-3 at White Hart Lane.
As a player, he began his senior career at Northwich Victoria before going on to play for the likes of Preston North End, Lincoln City, Port Vale and Queens Park Rangers.
Ainsworth was also part of the Wycombe side who gained promotion to League One in 2011 and would go on to make 600 appearances for the Chairboys.
It’s safe to say, he’s a legend at the club.
Last Time Out:
The last time these two sides met was in a League Two fixture at the back end of the 2017-18 season, the Bees falling to a 2-0 defeat on that occasion.
The Chairboys, who clinched promotion that season, took the lead through a 52nd minute Joe Jacobson penalty before a Ricardo Santos own goal sealed maximum points.
Andre Boucaud, who started against Berkhamsted on Tuesday, could come up against his former club this afternoon. The midfielder signed for the Chairboys in 2007 and went on to make 11 appearances for the club but was released at the end of that season.
Currie wore Wycombe colours for three years during his playing career after joining from Barnet in 2001. He made over 100 appearances for the club but departed in 2004 before heading to Ipswich Town.
A couple of Currie’s coaching staff are ex-Chairboys too with the first being Junior Lewis. The former midfielder was Peter Taylor’s assistant at Wycombe in a short spell starting in 2008.
Coach Danny Senda made over 300 appearances for the Chairboys between 1999 and 2006 before leaving for Millwall.
After overseeing a 5-1 win over Berkhamsted on Tuesday, Bees boss Currie looked ahead to this afternoon’s game with his focus firmly on fitness:
“It’s important we play right and approach the game right but it’s still about fitness”, he said.
“If I come off the pitch on Saturday against Wycombe and everyone’s got good minutes in and are fit and well still, it’s another step in the right direction.
“The result will be a plus, we all want to see winning football of course but first and foremost, I want the boys to get fitter because we don’t get anything for beating Wycombe, there’s nothing on it other than fitness and understanding of what’s being asked of them.”
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