Scout report: Why injury-ravaged but tight-knit Wycombe could spring a major shock at Sunderland

Gareth Ainsworth and Wycombe are looking to spring a shock at Sunderland
Gareth Ainsworth and Wycombe are looking to spring a shock at Sunderland
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Sunderland face Wycombe for the first time in their history this weekend - but what should they expect from the Chairboys?

Jack Ross' side will be looking to continue their fine unbeaten run as they return to home soil, but Wycombe - promoted to League One last season - will be confident of springing a shock on the big stage.

So what should Ross and his players expect from their visitors?

Here's our comprehensive look at Wycombe Wanderers:

What system will Wycombe play?

Wycombe tend to operate in a 4-3-3 formation, or a slight variation of it, with a focus on getting the ball into the wide areas.

With pace aplenty and a large deal of trickery on the flanks, this system allows Wycombe to focus on what is arguably their strongest.

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A good blend of promising youngsters, many of them loanees, are mixed in with with some vastly experienced faces to create a tight-knit and successful squad, where everyone is fully aware of their roles in the system.

Who are Wycombe’s key players?

Arguably the most recognisable name in the Wycombe squad is that of Adebayo Akinfenwa, with the striker gaining popularity in recent years - largely on social media.

But with the striker set to be sidelined this weekend, one of the Chairboys’ other attacking talents may come to the fore.

The likes of Watford loanee Randall Williams, Paris Cowan-Hall and Alex Samuel have all caught the eye in recent weeks and are a fluid and effective frontline.

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At the back, Egypt international Adam El-Abd skippers the side and leads by example, while full-back Joe Jacobson’s set-pieces will need to be watched - the defender has netted three times already this season.

Between the sticks, emergency loan signing Matt Ingram comes with a good pedigree and will be keen to impress parent club QPR.

Do Wycombe have any injury worries?

Wycombe have several first players sidelined this weekend, which could cause manager Gareth Ainsworth some selection headaches.

First-team goalkeepers Ryan Allsop and Yves Ma-Kalambay are both out, prompting Wycombe to swoop for Ingram earlier this weekend.

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Meanwhile, key players Adebayo Akinfenwa, Darius Charles Matt Bloomfield, Nathan Tyson and Michael Harriman are all set to miss out.

Who is Wycombe’s manager and what can we expect from them?

Former midfielder Gareth Ainsworth is the Wycombe boss and has overseen a remarkable turnaround during his time in charge at Adams Park.

Having saved the side from relegation to the National League, Ainsworth spearheaded a surge up League Two - culminating in promotion to the third tier last season.

Confident in his style of play, Ainsworth’s side are always a difficult proposition and more than capable of causing a shock.

What form have Wycombe been in?

It’s been a mixed start to life in League One for Wycombe, who currently sit 16th in the division having won five and lost six at this early stage.

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They have sprung a couple of shocks - beating both Coventry and Peteborough in results which should serve as a warning to Sunderland.

But having struggled for consistency at times, the Chairboys are still attempting to climb the table.

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