Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth has stated that the decision for Anthony Stewart’s and Ryan Tafazolli’s absence from the starting 11 is based on his ‘team selection’.

The duo have collectively played 52 times for the Chairboys so far this season, but have not featured since the 1-0 defeat at home to MK at the end of January.

Since then, Stewart has been an unused substitute for the last three games which were draws versus Shrewsbury Town, Lincoln City and Cheltenham Town respectively, whilst Tafazolli has not been included in those matchday squads.

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When asked why they were absent from the team following the 5-5 draw against Cheltenham on February 19, Ainsworth explained that it was his ‘decision on team selection.’

Since then, Tafazolli, who joined the club at the beginning of last season and is a favourite amongst the supporters, has denied online rumours that his absence from the team is due to ‘disciplinary reasons’.

This comes after a fabricated statement was published on social media a few hours after the enthralling draw against the Robins.

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The Bucks Free Press understands that the centre back’s absence ‘is simply down to team selection/tactical decisions’, and that any gossip being spread online ‘is nonsense and totally unfair towards Tafazolli’.

Following the 0-0 draw against Shrewsbury on February 8, which saw Tafazolli and Stewart not be included in the starting 11, Ainsworth said: "Being able to put Kaikai, Akinfenwa and Mehmeti on the pitch, and have Wheeler, Horgan Stewart off the pitch is testament to where the club has come.

"Ryan Tafazolli and Anthony Stewart have played a lot of games and they are just as good."

Chris Forino and Jason McCarthy replaced the duo for the stalemate.

Following his move from Hull City in September 2020, Tafazolli has played 44 times for the Chairboys, scoring six goals.

Four of those strikes have come this season, which included a brace in the 2-1 victory against Crewe Alexandra in October.