Wycombe Wanderers will face one of their toughest tests of the 2018-19 season so far when Steve Evans’ high-flying Peterborough United come to town on Saturday.
The Chairboys have been in solid if not spectacular form in their first League One campaign for six years, but their home record has been turned on its head in their last three Adams Park appearances with wins over Burton, Scunthorpe and Rochdale. This has given Gareth Ainsworth some breathing space as he looks to complete Wanderers’ five year plan by solidifying their position in the third tier.
The man who helped the gaffer to come up with this plan, former chairman Andrew Howard, left the club this week amid an uncertain period for everyone involved with Wycombe Wanderers. The current owners, the supporters’ trust, have stated that their current model is unstable and are soon beginning a process of presenting a series of different investors looking to secure the immediate future of the Chairboys.
The departure of sporting director Howard was planned long before this happened, but attentions turn back to on-pitch matters this weekend with the visit of Peterborough. The Posh have won seven of their eight league away games this season, but their average home form has left them sitting two points behind current leaders Portsmouth.
The recent change to a 442 formation by Gareth Ainsworth has led to his side scoring eight goals and conceding five in their last three outings. Against the formidable attacking force of Peterborough, this is certainly a worry which isn’t helped by the injury to Anthony Stewart. He and Nathan Tyson are now training fully and are well on their way to a return, but the Wanderers back four should remain unchanged. Curtis Thompson has been a revelation of late and is expected to start in central midfield alongside one of Bryn Morris or Dom Gape with Matt Bloomfield not far from recovering from his latest injury.
Alex Samuel almost changed Wycombe’s visit to Walsall in their favour, so surely will get his reward at the weekend with a second league start for Wanderers. This would give Ainsworth a dilemma though, with Craig Mackail-Smith and Adebayo Akinfenwa also big contenders to start up front. The Scotsman is set to come up against his former club, and after Steve Evans described him as a ‘Posh legend’, he will be desperate to start. Ainsworth could solve this problem by starting CMS on the wing, although Fred Onyedinma and Paris Cowan-Hall will be the favoured options. There is also the option of pushing Michael Harriman forward and bringing Darius Charles into the defence to facilitate playing Jason McCarthy at his preferred right-back position, but Ainsworth may not favour this against one of the league’s most potent outfits.
The recent signing of Sebastien Bassong caught a lot of attention, and he could be in line for his first Peterborough start with Josh Yorwerth unavailable. Colin Daniel is returning from suspension for Steve Evans’ men.
GK: Ryan Allsop
LB: Joe Jacobson
CB: Adam El-Abd
CB: Jason McCarthy
RB: Michael Harriman
LM: Fred Onyedinma
CM: Dom Gape
CM: Curtis Thompson
LM: Paris Cowan-Hall
ST: Adebayo Akinfenwa
ST: Craig Mackail-Smith
Wycombe and Peterborough have crossed paths 24 times since 1973, which was a 3-1 FA Cup triumph for Posh. Overall, the record is exactly level with nine wins apiece and six draws. The two clubs’ last meeting came all the way back in 2009 when the Cambridgeshire side left South Buckinghamshire with a 4-0 success in the League Cup.
The last time they met in the third tier saw a 1-1 draw at London Road with Nathan Tyson the Chairboys’ goalscorer. Perhaps the most notable clash between these two came in September 1996 which was a 6-3 win for Posh. The form Wycombe and Peterborough are in, a repeat of this result wouldn’t be surprising.