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Woodward: Defeat hasn't harmed Ainsworth's chances
DON Woodward says Gareth Ainsworth is still the leading contender to be the next Wanderers manager - despite the caretaker boss fearing derby day defeat may have harmed his chances.
The Blues' joint chairman said Ainsworth was the front runner before Wanderers were beaten 3-1 at home by Oxford United.
Ainsworth felt that loss might count against him - but Woodward insists the current caretaker is entitled to more time to stamp his authority on the side.
Woodward told the Bucks Free Press this week: "Nothing's changed. Gareth's still the front runner and still looking after the team.
"He's getting the best out of the football team, which is a marked improvement compared to what was going on before."
There's been a noticeable upturn in performance from the Blues players since Ainsworth was handed control but the 39-year-old said after the Oxford loss: "It's probably a dent today in what's been quite a good start for me - losing one in six up to today.
"Things were looking good and we were pretty confident. Today is a whack on my CV.
"Probably the most disappointing since I've taken the reins. Everyone's more down than any performance since I took over."
Ainsworth was initially given a month to show what he could do and that has now been extended after a series of improved performances.
Woodward said during the win at Portsmouth in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Blues "played some of the best football I've seen for a long time" and that's persuaded him to hold off on giving other applicants any interviews.
A shortlist of 40 was whittled down to eight - now seven after one of the candidates was appointed manager elsewhere - and Woodward said they're aware of the Blues' boards intentions to give Ainsworth more time.
The Wanderers joint chairman said: "The others know everything's on hold. There's been no interviews and no hard and fast decisions.
"I slowed everything down. We wanted to give Gareth space to prove what he can do. We didn't see any great need to rush things and everyone on the shortlist knows that."