The most exciting season in Wycombe Wanderers’ 133 year history kicks off on Sunday with just about the toughest start they could have faced, a trip along the M4 to meet Brentford, regarded by many as the best team in the country outside the Premier League.

The Carabao Cup tie will be the first competitive match at Brentford’s new Community Stadium and will be screened live on Sky Sports (k.o.1230). Brentford finished third in the Championship last season behind Leeds and West Brom, they were top scorers in the division and won eight games in a row when the season resumed after lockdown.

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The West London club lost to neighbours Fulham in the Championship play off final at Wembley, just three weeks after Wycombe had triumphed there in the League One version to earn promotion to the second tier for the first time in the club’s history.

Sunday’s clash will be a special occasion for one of the key figures in Wycombe’s remarkable success story, Gareth Ainsworth’s highly respected assistant Richard Dobson, who began his football career in Brentford’s youth team and later joined their coaching staff when he was forced to retire as a player because of injury.

‘Dobbo’ as he is known to everyone at Adams Park, takes up the story: “My family’s association with Brentford goes back many years. My grandad grew up in the area and he was a big fan of the club and my dad George played for them in the 1960s and 70s. I was on their books from the age of 12 and became a regular in the youth team before being released when they were forced to make cuts for financial reasons.

“I eventually joined Farnborough Town who were playing in the Conference at the time, but I had three cruciate knee injuries that ended my playing career prematurely. I returned to Brentford as a coach in their youth department and worked under some famous managers like Steve Coppell and Terry Butcher.”

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Dobson went on to achieve his UEFA ‘A’ Licence, the highest qualification in coaching, before getting the call to join Wycombe as manager of their Centre of Excellence 13 years ago.

He remembers: “I was fortunate to work with some outstanding young players at Wycombe, many of whom went on to have careers with bigger clubs. We had the likes of Matty Phillips (QPR and West Brom), Jordan Ibe (Liverpool and Bournemouth), Kadeem Harris (Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday), Kortney Hause (Wolves and Aston Villa) and Matt Ingram (QPR and Hull City). It was a golden period for the club’s youth set up.”

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Dobson’s promotion to Wycombe’s first team coaching staff came under former manager Peter Taylor and continued when Ainsworth took over as boss eight years ago. The pair have formed a hugely successful partnership that has taken the club from the brink of relegation to the National League to the Championship, one of the biggest leagues in Europe, in the space of just six years.

What makes Sunday’s tie so enticing is that Dobson is just one of the many links between Brentford and Wycombe that stretch back to Wanderers’ early days in the Football League. Former skipper Terry Evans and defender Jason Cousins both played for Brentford before they became stalwarts in Martin O’Neill’s Wycombe outfit of the 1990’s, paving the way for a long line of players who have appeared for both clubs.They include Jamie Bates, Sam Saunders, Alfie Mawson, Sam Wood, Nico Yennaris, Marcus Bean and current first choice defender Darius Charles.

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“We have a great relationship with Brentford,” Dobson continued. “Whatever the result on Sunday, I’m sure Gareth and I will be sharing a drink with their management team after the game. The rumour is that they’ll be fielding a younger team than usual because of international call ups and the possibility that one or two of their star players will be sold on, but they have some excellent players in their B team so it’s still a huge challenge for us.”

Wycombe’s squad is likely to include three players signed this week, Republic of Ireland international winger Daryl Horgan, 6’5” central defender Ryan Tafazolli and former Manchester City goalkeeper Curtis Anderson. They join another new arrival, striker Uche Ikpeazu and two players who have returned to Adams Park after previous spells, defenders Jason McCarthy and Giles Phillips.