WE spoke to James Richings of the Bucks Free Press to get the lowdown on Saturday’s opponents Wycombe.

1.What have you made of Wycombe’s start to the season?

Up until the Crewe game, things were brilliant. Wycombe enjoyed their best-ever run of league wins at home on the bounce with eight, late victories over Morecambe and Crewe got Adams Park bouncing and solid victories away at Doncaster, Cheltenham and Shrewsbury made it a fantastic start.

Then Garath McCleary, who has been one of Wanderers’ best players this season, got injured against Crewe and now it’s six without a win.

The last three home games have seen Wycombe draw a blank with seven goals conceded, and the FA Cup defeat against Hartlepool won’t help things.

But every team goes through a blip and I’m sure things will improve soon.

2. Is League One stronger than the last time you were here?

I would say so. There is a different expectation at Wycombe now following Play Off Final win last summer, and the fans and staff would have known that going back down to League One wouldn’t be easy, and that’s proved to be the case.

In the games Wycombe have won in the league this season, they have shown their quality and have displayed Championship-like elements in how they go forward, but, baring the Gillingham match where the Gills were so bad, every team that has come to Adams Park has had a spell where they have been on top.

This shows how competitive League One is, and Wycombe will need to improve if they want to stay in the promotion push.

3.What is the feeling about Derby County’s points deduction being applied at this stage of the season? I know if Bolton were in the same position, we would be fuming.

It’s very frustrating and many fans aren’t happy about it at all.

The fact that two fixture lists were issued at the start of the season proves that the EFL were so unsure on what to do - it put Wycombe in limbo.

However, Gareth Ainsworth stated that regardless the decision, he would prepare his matches as if he were in the Championship which makes sense, as he wants to give his players the best methods to win games.

Sadly, with regarding Derby’s points deduction, there’s nothing we can do about it.

It’s been more of the case of shaking our heads and not spending too much time thinking about it, because thinking about ‘what ifs’ never help anyone.

Wycombe Wanderers a League One side, but last year, against all the doubters, they proved that they could compete at Championship standard, and hopefully they’ll be back up there sooner rather than later.

4. Is this a stronger squad than the one that went up in 2019/20?

Without a doubt – 100 per cent.

Garath McCleary, Sam Vokes, David Stockdale and Sullay Kaikai are just some of the players that are Wycombe’s books and all of these players have played in the Premier League, with three of them playing at international level.

Several members of the squad were also here last season during their Championship year and they would have learned a lot.

Wanderers have progressed rapidly over the last few years, and if you were to compare he squad of 2019/20 to 2021/22, the League One roster is a lot stronger.

This isn’t me trying to disrespect the previous squad, but football is about progression and Wanderers are making a name for themselves.

5.Bolton fans speak highly of the reception they got at Wycombe back at the start of the 2019/20 season – what was the view from the other side of the fence to what was going on?

No fan, of any team, likes to see a club struggle off the pitch.

There is always an element of sympathy from rival fans towards clubs that are going through a crisis, and they always hope they can get out of it and not go under.

Of course, when their team faces the club that are struggling, they want to win regardless, but you can’t not help think about what the supporters are going through.

Wycombe back in 2014 were on the verge of being relegated to the non-league, which ironically became their catalyst for success as a year later, they were in the League Two Play Off Final, but sadly lost.

Before the game is played, there is always that level of respect from fans to the club that are having a tough time off the pitch, but as soon as the first whistle blows, it’s all about the football and nothing else.

It’s good to see Bolton back in a healthy position – a Premier League club from my childhood and as an Arsenal fan, I remember dreading playing the Trotters at the then-Reebok Stadium as the inevitable defeat was on the cards!

Your prediction – Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Bolton Wanderers