Ainsworth: We have to take our second chance

Bucks Free Press: The previous game between Wanderers and Bristol Rovers was abandoned The previous game between Wanderers and Bristol Rovers was abandoned

GARETH Ainsworth has urged his players to make the most of their second chance tomorrow when they face Bristol Rovers for the second time.

The original game in August was abandoned in the second half on health and safety grounds after Adams Park was struck by lightning in the midst of torrential downpours.

Rovers fans, who had seen their side build up a 3-1 lead, were left incandescent with rage and tore up seats and advertising hoardings in the away end before threatening Wanderers office staff.

But manager Gareth Ainsworth said his players intend to make the most of their opportunity and put clear daylight between themselves and the dreaded drop zone.

The Blues boss said: "It's not often you get a second chance and when you do it's important you take it. I say that a lot to the players, especially when we get a shooting opportunity on the pitch. As a game situation we've got a second chance here and we're going to take it.

"This is a totally different game now and we'll be giving it our all to try and win it."

Ainsworth is expecting a fiery atmosphere from the visiting fans and called for the Blues supporters to do their bit to drown out the Gasheads.

He said: "You've got to feel a little bit sorry for them because they were winning the game but nobody can do anything about the weather. They'll be up for it and feel like they should have the points already. I'm sure they are going to be well up for it.

"Bristol fans come in good numbers, they are passionate and I'm expecting a highly charged atmosphere on the day.

"If the fans can get down again, we'll definitely need them in this atmosphere."

The Pirates sit just one point behind Wanderers after a run of one win in seven, but Ainsworth insists he won't prepare for the game any differently than usual.

He said: "I've got my way of doing things and it'll stay the same. The fact it's a re-run of the game won't come into it for us.

"It's classed as a big game, a six pointer, but it's just another game for us."

Meanwhile, Rovers fans are planning to turn up at Adams Park tomorrow in hi viz jackets in a light-hearted protest at the abandonment.

The original game was called off after the referee consulted with Wycombe Wanderers' safety manager, who said the match should be abandoned on health and safety grounds after Adams Park was struck by lightning.

An online campaign is growing amongst Rovers supporters to arrive in safety gear to mock the decision to halt the first game.

Club staff were outspoken in the immediate aftermath with Pirates chairman Nick Higgs saying the decision "didn't sit well" with him and the club lodged an official complaint over the incident - although the Football League subsequently found in Wanderers' favour.

This time Rovers have been quiet about the circumstances surrounding the original game, with Higgs not making a public statement before kick off, but a match preview piece on their official website said: "Players were removed from the field due to heavy rain and the match was then called off by Wycombe's health and safety officer who claimed that lightning had hit the away stand."

Supporters on messageboards said tomorrow's rematch was the Pirates' most important game of the season.

One fan said Blues "robbed us of three points last time and ruined our season" because of the call-off.

Another wrote: "The team need to be fully aware of the fans' desire to win this one, more than any other game so far this season. I expect them to sweat blood for the cause over this one."

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