Gaz wants rid of the fear factor

Bucks Free Press: These are nailbiting times for Gareth Ainsworth and Wycombe Wanderers These are nailbiting times for Gareth Ainsworth and Wycombe Wanderers

GARETH Ainsworth wants Wanderers to play without fear against Bristol Rovers tomorrow - but denied it's vital his side beat their relegation rivals at Adams Park.

Blues sit above the Gas by the narrowest of margins - having a goal difference that's just one better off than the West Country outfit - and a win would give Ainsworth's side some much needed breathing space in the scrap for Football League survival.

But the manager said his target is simply to avoid defeat and insisted Saturday's clash is not a must win game.

Ainsworth said: "Not getting beaten is the priority. A win would be fantastic - that's the quote I'm giving on the result. I believe we can beat Bristol Rovers.

"I don't like saying it's a must win game. It's always a 'do not get beaten' game for me, because if you don't get beaten we stay above Bristol and that's important, to stay above two teams at this stage of the season."

The Wanderers supremo said it's crucial his players don't show the same nerves that proved so costly in Monday's defeat to ten man Fleetwood Town.

Ainsworth said his team were guilty of panicking after falling behind, when calmer heads were needed to get Blues back into a game which featured a Fleetwood red card as early as the 12th minute.

He said: "The sending off affected us in a negative way rather than a positive way. It was us then gambling a little bit, instead of a point being a good result. We've left gaps at the back. Once they scored they parked their bus in front of their goal and there was no way we were going to score.

"It's a lesson learned but it's a very costly one because one point would have been great for us. We'd have still have needed to not get beaten on Saturday, which is still the case for me. It's a big game now against Bristol Rovers and not to get beaten is the aim.

"The fear came with it as soon as Fleetwood scored. It became panic rather than fear, because we were 1-0 down against ten men. If you open up the whole situation and looked with peripheral vision, it still wasn't such a bad thing. We still could have got back into the game and I felt we panicked. We were a bit tense in our play.

"It comes with experience and being able to draw on past games in your career, which is one thing a lot of our players don't have because it's their first season in football. You can understand why fear can manifest itself in games as different things, whether it's mistakes or tiredness.

"I'll be doing all I can to say to the boys there's absolutely no pressure on any of you, there's no fear - you go out there and play freely, because if you do that no team in the world can live with you.

"In life you've got to have no pressure and enjoy yourself, but it's easy to say and hard to do."

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