After a three week break from league action at Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers return to their home ground this weekend, which is fast becoming a fortress following four straight League One wins in South Bucks.
They take on managerless Shrewsbury Town, who sacked John Askey in the aftermath of a 1-1 FA Cup draw at home to non-league Salford City with the Shrews sitting 18th in League One. Caretaker manager Danny Coyne has overseen three successive wins in three different competitions since his arrival into the role, including a replay success over the Ammies and a 3-2 league comeback win against Rochdale to put Salop one place below Wanderers in the table.
However, Wycombe are also on a high after taking a point from their visit to the Stadium of Light last weekend, more than matching the quality of title favourites Sunderland. QPR loanee Matt Ingram made an important late save to secure that draw, but the return of Championship football means that Rs manager Steve McClaren needs Ingram to sit on the bench for their trip to Stoke so his second spell at Wycombe has come to a swift end.
Gareth Ainsworth once again moved to secure another emergency loan, with the signing of former Championship Goalkeeper of the Year, David Stockdale for the next two games. A reported falling out with Birmingham manager Garry Monk has seen Stockdale get sent out on loan to Southend earlier in the season in a bid for regular football, and now he finds himself at the Chairboys covering for a couple of goalkeeping injuries.
Saturday sees the ‘innovative seating derby’ as after Shrewsbury became the first English club to employ safe standing at their ground in the summer, Wycombe have this week installed 2020 seats which allow fans to sit or stand without their view of the pitch being affected.
Stockdale will start in goal for Wanderers with the back four ahead of him expected to remain the same from their 1-1 draw in the northeast. Whether Ainsworth opts for a 442 or 433 formation, Bryn Morris will be ineligible either way as his current club face his parent club. This could mean a 442 formation due to a lack of options in central midfield. Dom Gape and Curtis Thompson should be selected for this role with Randell Williams and Paris Cowan-Hall alongside them if Fred Onyedinma is chosen to play up front. However, the return of Nathan Tyson from injury could see to this with Alex Samuel likely to keep his place in the team and Adebayo Akinfenwa still doubtful.
The Shrews have a plethora of former Chairboys in their ranks, including Anthony Grant, Aaron Holloway, Lee Angol and Steve Arnold as well as former Wycombe youth product Josh Laurent.
These two have met plenty of times over the years, with over half of their 25 meetings ending all square. Wanderers have by far the better of the record overall, as they’ve only lost one of their last 21 games against Shrewsbury. However, that defeat was a crushing 7-0 loss in the then-named Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Four of the pair’s last five meetings have seen the spoils shared, although Wycombe did manage to take all three points in the most recent encounter. Sam Wood’s very early goal sealed the win in a crucial promotion six-pointer. This one couldn’t be much more different, though, with both clubs sitting relatively comfortably in mid-table.
However, both Wycombe and Shrewsbury will be looking to continue current runs that they are on and move up the table in order to ease any relegation fears.