Ainsworth rules out playing comeback in relegation battle

Gareth Ainsworth played in a Berks and Bucks Cup game against Beaconsfield SYCOB this season but has said he won't feature again. Photo by Andrew Rowland

Gareth Ainsworth played in a Berks and Bucks Cup game against Beaconsfield SYCOB this season but has said he won't feature again. Photo by Andrew Rowland

First published in Latest Sport This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

LEADERSHIP and creativity were two of the things Gareth Ainsworth used to provide as a player - but the Blues boss isn't planning to dust off his boots despite Wanderers needing to top a four team mini survival league.

Ainsworth this week called for his men - and the strikers in particular - to show the attributes he was renowned for as a player and stand up and be counted if they're to avoid the drop.

Although the Wanderers chief admits he misses the buzz of playing he ruled himself out of making a return to the pitch, saying it's down to his players to extricate themselves from the position they find themselves in.

Ainsworth, who is still registered as a player on non-contract terms, said: "I'd like to be able to say I could stick the boots on and get back to the old days but I really want the boys to come forward and do it themselves, because they are well capable of it and I believe in them.

"I miss playing lots and lots. It's the best feeling in the world. Management comes a close second with the feelings you get, but nothing can beat playing.

"It's the emotion of getting out there and thinking, 'I can really help out in this situation'. It's the hardest emotion to dampen down. It's something I'm living with and dealing with, but hopefully someone can take the mantle on Saturday and become that person who can go out there and lead and score some goals."

But Ainsworth said it's time for his strikers to start firing, with only four teams in League Two having found the back of the net less frequently than Wanderers this season.

Not surprisingly they're the teams immediately above and below Blues in the table and Ainsworth said his aim was to top the survival table.

He said: "We are in a seven game mini league and we are top of that league of four teams at the moment. We have to stay top of that league. Can the lads step up and find that spirit, that fight we had last year?

"I'm sure the fans will be alongside us. We are where we are - forget why, let's just get out of this and hopefully we can do it together.

"The minimum is to stand up and be counted. I'm asking for goals - that's what I need.

"I'm still positive but we need to stand up and be counted and start hitting the target. There's goalscorers in the squad, people who have a history of goals in their careers.

"We've got some natural finishers here and in training it's great to see them and they are flying in the net. When the pressure's on now, we've got to stand up and be counted and handle that pressure. That's what makes great players, being able to handle any situation and keep their calm head and score their goal."

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