GARY Waddock’s 100th match at the helm of Wycombe Wanderers brought drama and delight.
Sheffield United hope the 122nd delivers nothing but crushing disappointment.
Tomorrow’s visitors to Bramall Lane inflicted a shock defeat upon Danny Wilson’s side when the two teams met at Adams Park in September.
Five months on and Waddock, who celebrated a centenary of appearances in charge of Wanderers that day, is adamant they possess both the calibre and strength of character required to register an improbable League One double.
“The players have worked hard and they’ve shown drive and attitude,” he said.
“They’ve put their bodies on the line and that’s what we need.
“There are lots of games to play and there will be lots of twists and turns between now and the end of the campaign.
“Everyone has to stay calm and give everything for the fight.”
Despite the wealth of statistical evidence pointing to a home victory, both Waddock and Wilson maintain the outcome of what promises to be a key fixture in their respective teams’ seasons remains impossible to predict with any degree of certainty.
United, fourth in the table and four points behind second-placed Sheffield Wednesday with two games in hand, have been beaten only twice in their previous 10 league encounters.
Wanderers, a point and a place above the relegation zone, travel north this evening knowing they have tasted success on the road only twice this term.
United are fifth in the divisional form table.Their latest opponents are 15th despite last weekend’s success over Tranmere.
Wilson’s men have registered 169 shots on target, Waddock’s a paltry 139 by comparison.
Yet, as Stuart Beavon’s spectacular finish proved during their previous meeting in Buckinghamshire, quality not quantity is the most precious commodity in football.
Possession may have been split 50/50 throughout that match.
But, despite Wilson’s protestations that United had “completely dominated,” it was Wanderers who prevailed.
Matty Whichelow, a 20-year-old forward signed on loan from Watford, is one of those players Waddock believes can help his charges spring another surprise and dent the hosts’ Championship aspirations.
Indeed, Whichelow’s partnership with Beavon was one of the driving forces behind Wanderers’ win over Tranmere.
“I enjoyed being up there with Stuart,” he said. “He talked to me throughout the game and I think it’s got the makings of a good double act.
“I just want to score as much as possible and help get Wycombe up the table.
“I like to try and get on the ball as much as possible and, if I’m playing up front, work off the shoulder and try to utilise my pace by getting behind or turning defenders.
“I wasn’t getting much first-team football at Watford and so this is a really good opportunity for me to do exactly that.”
“I’ve been watching Matty for a while,” said Waddock. “He’s a lively player who can make a really positive impact here.
“He’s very highly thought of at Watford and so I’d like to thank their manager, Sean Dyche, for allowing him to come here.”
Whichelow added: “All the lads put their bodies on the line (against Tranmere) and that was great to see.
“It’s been brilliant to see that sort of desire.”
One to watch
Sheffield United know all about Stuart Beavon’s goal scoring prowess having watched him score the only goal of the game when suffered a shock defeat in Buckinghamshire earlier this term. The former Weymouth and Didcot Town man has netted 13 in all competitions.