Despite a 4-1 mauling last week, Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton remains confident that his side can overturn the deficit tonight and reach the League One play-off final.
Joe Jacobson, David Wheeler, Alex Samuel, and Nnamdi Ofoborh were all on target as Ainsworth’s side strolled to victory in the first leg. Ched Evans scored the sole Fleetwood goal, whilst both Paddy Madden and Lewie Coyle saw red.
The game told a story of two very different sides: Barton’s Fleetwood were ill-disciplined, lacklustre, and performed with no real game plan; in complete contrast, Ainsworth’s effervescent Wycombe were clinical and measured in their approach to the game.
But despite the gulf in class between the two sides, former Newcastle man Barton is adamant his side can overturn the Chairboys’ three-goal advantage to reach Wembley.
“We are still alive in this and whilst there’s a fight, you’ve got a chance”, said the Fleetwood boss, speaking to the club’s official media channel.
“It’s a test of our character and we have got to climb up off the canvas, probably even underneath the canvas. We’ve got to get ourselves in a position to win the game, first and foremost, with enough time on the clock. Who knows what can happen?”
Regardless of how much ‘character’ Barton’s men can show, it will be tough to match the grit and determination of a Gareth Ainsworth Wycombe side.
Whilst many teams have attempted to play a more continental, passing style this season, Ainsworth’s outfit have kept things simple – and it has been effective. Teams such as Doncaster Rovers, Portsmouth, and Blackpool have all come to Adams Park this season and left disappointed, thanks to the Chairboys’ aggressive style of play.
It hasn’t been everybody’s cup of tea, but I very much doubt Wycombe fans will care about that when their side walk out at Wembley next week.
Despite his high hopes, there is no chance Barton will be able to recover; if anything, we are very much likely to see an even more dominant Wanderers performance given Fleetwood’s two suspensions and home advantage.