STUART Beavon will have learnt how much Wanderers have improved since he left the club after being kept quiet in today’s FA Cup tie with Preston, Blues boss Gareth Ainsworth said.

Beavon was very much the standout player in his last full season at Adams Park, scoring 25 goals despite playing in a team that failed to avoid relegation from League One.

But on his first return to his former club he was superbly shackled by Anthony Stewart and Kortney Hause, although it was Preston who progressed to the third round of the competition thanks to a stunning strike from former England international Kevin Davies.

Ainsworth said: “Stuart Beavon came off the pitch and said to me, ‘Wow, what’s happened here?’ He can really see the change and he said to me, ‘You’ve got to finish top half of this table’ – and we want to go higher than that.

“The back four were superb. Marvin McCoy’s been so consistent lately. Anthony Stewart and Kortney didn’t give any change at all to Beavon and Davies apart from the one worldie strike. I think Stuart Beavon realises now we have grown as a club and we have got better and we’ve got players like that at the back."

But the Blues boss admitted: “It’s just sticking it in the net. The chances are created and I’m sure against League Two opposition we can stick these in.

“People are seeing what we are trying to do – get the ball down, attacking formations, trying to get at them. With a little bit of luck on our side we might have got the equaliser. If we got a corner I’d have sent Matt Ingram up again. It was a great ending to the game, our fans were behind us urging that ball to go in the net. Unfortunately it didn’t fall for us but on another day it will.

“There wasn’t too much in it. A world class strike from a once world class player, he’s still saying he can do it. Kevin’s proved what he can do and it was what was between the teams today.

“I was really pleased with the way we performed, really pleased with the way we stirred at the end. We nearly got the equaliser – their keeper’s probably made a few more, better saves than our keeper has.”

Meanwhile, defender Charles Dunne had to be taken to hospital for X rays after injuring his shin in the first half.

Ainsworth said: “Hopefully we are not looking at the worst for Charles. He’s a strong lad and just starting in his career, so hopefully he’ll be OK.”