The world’s oldest football competition is back this weekend and Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth is hoping that his side can enjoy a cup run this season.

Wanderers take on Preston North End in the third round at Adams Park on January 9 – a repeat from 2018 when North End smashed the Chairboys 5-1 at the same stage three years ago.

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And even though Wycombe are rock bottom of the Championship and are currently four points away from safety, Ainsworth will be taking the FA Cup seriously, as the Chairboys aim to progress to the fourth round for the first time since 2017.

That season, they narrowly lost 4-3 at Tottenham Hotspur, when Son Heung-min scored a 97th-minute winner at White Hart Lane to knock the Chairboys out of the cup.

It was also confirmed that the match against Preston will be live on the FA Player for free and therefore will not be available on iFollow.

Bucks Free Press:

The FA Cup is the world's oldest football competition

Speaking after the 3-1 home defeat against Middlesbrough on January 2, Ainsworth said: “The Ainsworth family remembers the FA Cup very fondly and there is no way that I will ever take that for granted.

“And if I do ever get a squad where I can rotate 11 changes, then please pull me up on that.

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“I love the FA Cup and I think it is very important that we have a cup run.

“The owners want one, I want one and I know that the lads want to win games.

“A cup run will be fantastic but staying in the league will be even better, but I am proud of the boys whatever the outcome.”

Since the turn of the millennium, Wycombe have only got to the third round or beyond seven times (2021, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2011, 2002 and 2001), with the club reaching the semi-finals in the latter, where they lost to Liverpool 2-1 at Villa Park.

Liverpool would go on to defeat Arsenal in the final by the same score line that year.

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That season, the Chairboys defeated Leicester City at Filbert Street in the quarter-finals, with striker Roy Essandoh getting the winner in injury-time.

Essandoh had joined the club through a Teletext advert after Wycombe needed a fit, non-cup-tied striker following a shortage of forwards.

He signed for the club just seven days before the cup tie against the Foxes, and his winner was his only goal for the club.