Ainsworth relishing a fresh start

This Is Local London: Gareth Ainsworth Gareth Ainsworth

GARETH Ainsworth said his decision to release eight players - including club stalwart Leon Johnson and striker Dean Morgan - is a signal he intends to make big changes at Wanderers this summer.

Experienced duo Matt Spring and Jo Kuffour were also shown the door in a busy week for Ainsworth that saw the Blues boss offer new deals to nine players and release eight.

The 41-year-old said last season's narrow escape from relegation had brought it home he needed to rip things up and start again from scratch.

Ainsworth intends to go for quality over quantity this summer, saying his squad last season was too big.

He said: "A change is needed at the club. For all the elation we had on the last day of the season, we should never have been there in the first place. I think a change will do the club good, and there will be a few changes.

"It's a big chance to start again. There's a lot of out of contract players, probably more than most clubs have had. With the current financial plight at the club it would be tough keeping everyone happy.

"We have to move on and I have got to do the best for Wycombe Wanderers.

"This is a fantastic club. I've got the chance to put my own marker on it and I'm determined to have a good crack at League Two next year.

"I have to make this summer a good summer for Wycombe Wanderers and not end up in the same position we were last year. We are reflecting on what the problems were last year. Myself, Richard [Dobson, assistant manager] and Baz [Barry Richardson, coach] are going to address them and make sure we don't end up in that same situation again.

"The squad will probably become smaller next year. It's going to be a tough summer but we're working hard and will hopefully get the right people in.

"I don't want too many players under contract. It's harder to keep a lot of players happy."

Defender Johnson was released after seven seasons and 200 appearances for the club, while Morgan was let go despite scoring eight goals in an injury disrupted campaign.

Also on the way through the exit gates are Anthony Jeffrey, Jon-Paul Pittman, Jesse Kewley-Graham and Lee Angol.

Ainsworth offered new contracts to Anthony Stewart, Matt Bloomfield, Stuart Lewis, Sam Wood, Charlie Horlock, Junior Morias, Steven Craig, Tommy Fletcher and Gary Doherty.

Marvin McCoy is also out of contract and is set to discuss his future at the club with Ainsworth next week.

The Blues boss said: "Leon's been a fantastic servant to the club and Dean's had his best spell under any manager, but for all of them I want to say thank you for your efforts."

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