GARETH Ainsworth has urged Wycombe Wanderers to beat AFC Wimbledon this weekend in order to repay the faith shown in them by former manager Gary Waddock.
Waddock was given the bullet by the Blues a little over 100 days ago following a third straight league defeat at the hands of the Dons that left them in 21st place in League Two.
Ainsworth was part of the Wanderers side that lost 1-0 to managerless Wimbledon on that fateful day and has since taken the reins as player-boss at Adams Park.
He has moved the club out of the relegation zone while at the helm and believes his young players owe their old boss a performance at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.
“It was Gary’s [Waddock’s] last game in charge here and some of the boys might think they want to give a performance for that reason,” Ainsworth said. “Gary brought them all to the club so maybe it would be nice for him to see the result and think to himself ‘yeah I was right in some of those signings’.
“It was terrible at the time because we couldn’t see a win coming from anywhere but that’s football. Sometimes it happens. Gary Waddock’s a great manager and I’m sure he’ll pop up somewhere soon.
“It was on the cards and it [the result] sealed Gary’s fate here. Gary was the first one to ring me when I got the job so hopefully we can put one over on them [Wimbledon] and include Gary in our celebrations.”
Simon Bassey took caretaker charge of Wimbledon for the win at Adams Park in September and it is now Ainsworth’s old Dons pal Neal Ardley’s name on the door at Kingsmeadow.
The Blues chief admits it will be nice to see his former Crazy Gang team-mate this weekend and has been impressed with the way his counterpart has set his side out in recent matches.
“Wimbledon are no mugs,” he added. “I was lucky when I took over because I knew all the lads and didn’t have to come into it cold. I’m looking forward to the game and I know it’s a cliché but it’s a real six-pointer, we’ll be giving our all.
“I spoke to Neal a couple of times in the early days after he got the job. We’ve had some chats and he’s a good friend. We had some good times together at Wimbledon and there’ll be a couple of Crazy Gang members meeting on the touchline next week so it’ll be an interesting one. I’m sure we’ll share a drink afterwards.”
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