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24 October 2020 Venue Carrow Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Ask the expert: Wycombe Wanderers (H)

23 October 2020

Wycombe Wanderers travel to Carrow Road still looking for their first point of their Sky Bet Championship campaign. However, having talked Phil Catchpole, who has followed the Chairboys since the 1980s, it is clear the Chairboys are close to getting their first win and relish their underdog status.

Phil works as a local BBC reporter covering Wycombe as well as proving the club commentary on iFollow and producing his own Wycombe Wanderers FC based podcast. 

OTBC: Wycombe have had a slow start to the season, but have you seen signs in terms of their performances that they are closer to getting their first point?

PC: Yes, they are getting closer, although the fixture list coming up does look a bit daunting so we will see. They are competing a lot better in recent matches and I think the loan signings have helped give them a bit more quality in midfield. Dennis Adeniran has been a really good signing and Josh Knight, from Leicester, did really well at the weekend, although he played in defence but I think he can play in midfield as well. It is slowly getting there, and I think it was also a big boost for the team to get their first goal on Saturday. It was a bit of a ridiculous goal but to get that monkey off their back was good.

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OTBC: That goal from Scott Kashket against Millwall came from a high press. Norwich like to play out from the back do you think the high press is something Gareth Ainsworth will look to deploy when his side come to Carrow Road?

PC: Possibly. Against Swansea they sat off and that didn’t really work and I think they learnt a lesson there. Against Millwall they certainly did employ the press. The problem is they have to work so hard, because they don’t have the ball for such a large amount of the game, it is whether they can keep that up over the 90 minutes. I think we saw that against Millwall. I think it is something he will try and instil against Norwich, but I don’t know if it is going to work based on the quality that your team has. The team has just come down from the Premier League where you have had to play around a press much quicker and I don’t think the fitness will be there to play that press over the 90 minutes. Wycombe are going to have to be ruthless when their chances come and then ride their luck a little bit against sides like Norwich.

OTBC: When you take into account that Wycombe Wanderers haven’t got one of the biggest budgets at League One level, let alone Championship, what are the expectations from this season?

PC: I think most people, including Wycombe fans, expect us to get relegated. I think we had the second smallest budget in League One last season and Gareth Ainsworth has been quoted as saying we have got the smallest Championship budget of all time. They haven’t really thrown money at the squad, which is fair enough in the current climate, so the expectation is that Wycombe will roll their sleeves up and have a go with no real pressure on them to stay up. If they were to get relegated it would be a big problem. They would go back down to League One a much stronger club and attempt to come back – a bit like Rotherham have done over the last few seasons yoyoing between the two divisions.

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OTBC: It seems Wycombe produce some of their best displays when people write them off. How much do they buy into that underdog spirit and how much does that help team unity?

PC: Yes, it is what Wycombe have got in abundance. They have had no money really for a long, long time. Gareth Ainsworth has had to find other ways to make his team competitive and that is through the culture and unity he has built at the club. They are hallmarks of his own character and he has made sure that they are applicable throughout the squad. Going back to that game against Torquay United in 2014, everybody had written us off. Even the Wycombe fans thought we were down, but it was Gareth’s belief and character that got us that win. I spoke to him the Thursday before the game he was upbeat. He said: ‘I full believe we are going to do it.’ He is one of those people you get off the phone to, after a five or ten-minute conversation, and you do feel a bit taller yourself. He is that kind of person and I can see why the players love him. He has changed one bit with that attitude. You only have to listen to his post-match interview on Saturday to see that.

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OTBC: Gareth Ainsworth has now been in charge of Wycombe for over eight years. Considering his success are you surprised he has not been offered a job, with a bigger budget, and left?

PC: Yes and no. I am surprised other clubs have not taken him a bit more seriously as a manager. I think football is quite short-sighted in a way and I don’t think people really appreciate just how good of a job he has done at Wycombe because of the style of football that they play. The style of play is not really by choice. I think Gareth has had to find a way to be successful on an incredibly small budget. Until this transfer window we hadn’t paid a transfer fee for a player for 10 years, so you can’t expect his sides to play like Brazil from the 1970s. He has had to find a way of getting the best out of very little and he has done that but football has kind of pigeon-holed him a bit. They think he is the new Jon Beck and he has only got one way of playing and that is drastically unfair. I would love to see Gareth manage with a bigger budget at a bigger club and I think it will happen one day and when it does Wycombe fans will probably start having that team as their second team. That is how much he is loved at the club.

OTBC: Wycombe look deadly from set-pieces, especially with Joe Jacobson. How important do you think that could be for Wycombe if they are going to get a result on Saturday?

PC: It will be huge. Hopefully Adebayo Akinfenwa is available. He made his first appearance of the season off the bench on Saturday. He is massive for Wycombe from set-pieces – attacking and defending them as well. If Wycombe get a free kick, it is going towards the edge of the opponent’s penalty area. It doesn’t matter where it is on the pitch, even if it is on the edge of their own box. Gareth firmly believes in getting the ball in the ‘mixer’ so to speak. So set pieces will be important. Corners are massively important. Joe Jacobson has got a fantastic habit of scoring directly from them – he has done it five times in a Wycombe shirt now. It should have been six if you count the one that was ruled out against Millwall. So, they are important. However, what I have noticed in the Championship is that every squad we have come up against so far, are taller than Wycombe Wanderers. So, I think we need to get Bayo (Adebayo Akinfenwa) back pretty quickly.

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Match Reports

Another Vrancic winner secures 2-1 victory over Wycombe

24 October 2020

Mario Vrancic once again scored a late winner to give Norwich City all three points against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting 11 and bench from Tuesday night's 1-0 win at home to Birmingham City.

His faith was re-paid instantly, as Emi Buendia put Pukki through on goal to give City the lead inside just three minutes with a delicately lofted shot beyond Ryan Allsopp.

Pukki had another chance moments later, shooting wide with his left foot from inside the 18-yard box.

Despite a daunting opening period for Wycombe, Gareth Ainsworth's side responded with an equaliser in the 13th minute, Kashket latching onto and beating Tim Krul to a loose ball for 1-1.

Pukki continued to be involved in City's attacks, volleying wide at the far post from a Xavi Quintilla cross in the 26th minute as Norwich looked to re-gain their lead.

Quintilla's next delivery came five minutes later, Jordan Hugill on the receiving end with a header over the bar from the Spaniard's corner.

The visitors looked a danger from a set-piece when Anthony Stewart headed just over the bar from a free-kick that had been put back across goal in the 33rd minute, before Kashket headed into the side netting from a Daryl Horgan cross.

Todd Cantwell almost stole the headlines with a spectacular effort shortly before half-time, volleying wide of the post first-time after picking up a stray Wycombe clearance.

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Cantwell again had an inviting chance early in the second half, a Quintilla free-kick coming out to the number 14, but his effort was dragged wide of the post as the angle narrowed.

Lukas Rupp was next to come close, having a shot deflected over the bar after receiving the ball from Cantwell inside the 18-yard box.

After coming on as a substitute with just over half an hour remaining, Adam Idah almost made an instant impact. Picking up the ball from Quintilla on the left, Idah opened his body up to shoot for the far corner, forcing Allsopp into a good save down to his left.

Stewart almost put the ball in his own net from a Quintilla cross in the 67th minute, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw his connection fly over the bar.

Both sides had decent chances to take the lead with around 20 minutes remaining, Fred Onyedinma shooting wide for Wycombe and Allsopp saving from Pukki at the near post.

City then had a flurry of efforts, Cantwell forcing another save from Allsopp, Mario Vrancic seeing a shot blocked and Grant Hanley having a header cleared off the line.

Buendia dragged a shot wide with ten minutes to go after Vrancic held the ball up for his run, as City looked more likely to get a late winner.

Adam Idah shot over the bar from distance as City continued to hunt for a late winner.

With just minutes remaining, Vrancic won Norwich a free-kick in an inviting position. He duly stepped up and curled it into the top right corner perfectly for 2-1.

Before the full-time whistle, Idah was shown a red card for a late foul.

Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Hanley (C), Gibson, Quintilla, Rupp (Placheta 86'), Skipp (Vrancic 69'), Buendia, Pukki, Cantwell, Hugill (Idah 59')

Subs not used: McGovern, McLean, Martin, Tettey

Goals: Pukki (3'), Vrancic (90+1')

Yellows: Gibson (15')

Reds: Idah (90+5')

Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, Grimmer, Jacobson (C), Stewart, Knight, Adeniran, Thompson, Wheeler, Onyedinma, Horgan (Bloomfield (84'), Kashket (Ikpeazu 69')

Subs not used: Stockdale, Phillips, Akinfenwa, Samuel, Mehmeti

Goals: Kasket (13')

Yellows: Onyedinma (45+3')

Referee: Gavin Ward

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