ANTHONY Stewart will be handed only his second Wycombe Wanderers start of 2019 when they host Gillingham at Adams Park this Saturday (3pm ko).

The 26-year-old defender will replace Adam El-Abd who begins a three-match ban for violent conduct after his red card in the 2-1 defeat at Barnsley last weekend.

El-Abd was sent off deep into stoppage time at Oakwell following an altercation with Tykes midfielder Cameron McGeehan.

Stewart’s last first-team appearance came in a 2-0 home defeat to Coventry City on January 1, though boss Gareth Ainsworth has no qualms about throwing him back in.

“Adam has gone in and he has tried to protect his team mates and stand up for them,” suggested Ainsworth. “He has gone that one step too far on this occasion. The fourth official spotted it and Adam has got to pay the price.

“Adam’s suspension gives a chance for Anthony Stewart to come into the team. He has been waiting in the wings this season because of the form of others but he’s a fantastic centre half and it is a great opportunity for him.”

Ainsworth also confirmed he has the luxury of a near fully-fit squad to choose from this weekend.

Luke Bolton – who picked up a nasty head injury at Barnsley contributing to 10 minutes of stoppage time – even stands a good chance of making the team having been closely monitored by Wycombe and his parent club, Manchester City.

“The medical staff have done a fantastic job but we won’t take any risks,” explained Ainsworth. “If he needs to sit out, he will. A final decision will be made soon.”