Relegated Championship boss Gareth Ainsworth fires a warning to League One clubs ahead of next season with preparations for it in full flow.
His Wycombe Wanderers side finished the 2020/21 campaign in 22nd place and relegated, but despite going down, they really showed much more fight then many expected throughout.
Now the Chairboys boss is determined to guide his side to an immediate return back to the Championship next season, and after winning the respect of many fans, they would probably agree they have got a good chance of achieving that.
Wycombe are preparing for the 2021/22 campaign back in the third tier of English football where they’ll have the likes of Portsmouth, Charlton, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham and the three beaten play-off sides to compete with for promotion, making it potentially what will be one of the toughest to win promotion in many a year.
Speaking to the EFL podcast, Ainsworth reckons he and his squad have learnt playing big-hitters such as Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth will give them a big advantage.
He said: ‘After 46 games you are where you deserve to be, and ultimately we were just a couple of points away from staying up. But I always gave my best so I can’t really look back and say I should’ve changed this player or these tactics.
‘There was no R next to our name until the final kick of the final game of the season and we can take pride from that. The efforts from everyone were great.
‘I’m gutted that the fans couldn’t see Championship football, but it’s my job to get us back there.
‘As we came off at the Riverside Stadium (after the final game at Middlesbrough), the feeling was real excitement for next season. We’d taken Middlesbrough to the cleaners.
‘We’re a much better team than we were at the start of the season. We learned a lot, we started slow but finished like a train. With one more game, we might have survived.
‘The fans coming back is something I’m so excited about. I wake up every single morning and tell myself how lucky I am.
‘I’m a football manager, I’ve played football all my life, and soon we’re going to have the fans back in the ground, right behind us again.’
Meanwhile, Darragh MacAnthony has backed Sheffield Wednesday to make an immediate return to the Championship after a difficult campaign.
Peterborough United’s chairman was discussing the future of the Owls after suffering relegation to League One.
Speaking on his Hard Truth Podcast, MacAnthony said: “I think if Darren Moore hadn’t got ill with Covid, I think Sheffield Wednesday would have stayed up. I do rate him [Moore] as a manager. I think he’s a brilliant manager.
“I think what he’s really good at is getting good loans from Premier League clubs. He did it with Doncaster and they were flying.
“My tip would be don’t interfere and leave him to do what he is good at. Give him the support to recruit.
“The fans will be back and they are going to be a monstrous club in League One.
“I’m sure they have got still some strengths left there. Hopefully they can let go of lots of people that are out of contract who are on silly Championship wages.
“If you get the opportunity to clear the decks and freshen things up with a fresh new manager, I’m pretty certain they are going to be one of the three teams promoted out of League One next year.
“Sheffield Wednesday are a Premier League club… don’t be surprised if they have a hell of a season. They are going to be challenging to win the league.”
Rotherham United boss Paul Warne is set to stay at the club following their relegation to League One.
He explained his stance to the Sheffield Star after having time to reflect following the season’s end.
“I can’t envisage not being the manager. I just want what’s right for the football club. I’ve had to decide if that involves me as manager. I had to think whether it needed someone else to come in, strip the place bare and start again.
“I speak to the chairman a lot. I wouldn’t have been 100 per cent true to myself if I hadn’t taken a bit of time just to try to get my head right. I’ve still got two years left on my contract here. I don’t believe I will leave before then.”
As relegated Championship boss Gareth Ainsworth fires a warning to League One clubs ahead of next season – what do you make of it? Can you see them going up again? Let us know via our socials!