Preview: Wycombe Wanderers vs Exeter City
City’s barren run since the Jevani Brown incident came to an end with a comfortable 2-0 win over a Cambridge side that currently looks doomed for the drop, so it’s with renewed confidence that Gary Caldwell’s side heads to Buckinghamshire aiming to take advantage of any uncertainty in the Wycombe ranks following the departure of Gareth Ainsworth to QPR. After the bafflement of a number of “square pegs in round holes” of recent selections, Caldwell played what appeared to be his strongest available eleven against Cambridge and City looked all the more coherent as a result. With no midweek games until the end of March this may be an opportunity for Caldwell to bed in his strongest side with the aim of consolidating a top half finish with the playoffs looking rather too distant now. He may therefore be tempted to name an unchanged side for the Wycombe match, with Kevin McDonald having put in a superb display back in the side after he missed the Port Vale defeat to attend the birth of his daughter.
When a manager departs after a lengthy spell, it can cause massive upheaval (look at Manchester United’s travails in the decade or so since Ferguson retired), and while City overcame this by promoting from within, Wycombe have as good as done that by bringing Matt Bloomfield back to the club where he spent roughly 47 years as a player. Bloomfield had been in charge at Colchester but the temptation to return to the club where he is revered was too much to turn down. He didn’t get off to a great start – losing 2-0 at fellow in-form side Shrewsbury to end a run of five straight wins, and he will hope that being back on home turf this weekend will help to get his reign off to a good start. Ainsworth’s business in the January window saw more outs than ins – just two loan signings were made while Sullay Kaikai (to MK Dons) and Anis Mehmeti (to Bristol City) were key departures. Mehmeti’s departure in particular denuded the Chairboys of their top league scorer (nine) so it will increase the pressure on the likes of Sam Vokes, Gareth McCleary and Lewis Wing to up their scoring rate. Elsewhere David Wheeler will be keen to line up against his former side.
Wheeler was on the scoresheet when the clubs met at the Park back in August, however his goal merely reduced the arrears to 2-1 after City led 2-0 at the break through Kite and Collins before putting the seal on things through Dieng late on. City’s last trip to Adams Park in October 2017 won’t live long in the memory, finishing 0-0. City’s win in the reverse fixture closed the league head to head gap to 6-7, with six matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Tom Nield
Assistant Referee: Adrian Tranter and Stephen Brown
Fourth Official : Ravel Cheosiaua
The last match we saw Tom Nield was back in September at the Park when City won 2-1 against Fleetwood Town.
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