‘Have you seen the Championship?’ – QPR boss admits being scared as Sheffield Wednesday & Co join
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The Owls are one of a number of big clubs to have entered into the second tier for 2023/24, with Leeds United, Leicester City and Southampton coming down and Ipswich Town also taking a step up alongside Darren Moore’s side.
Ainsworth’s side avoided the drop in 2022/23, finishing six points clear of 22nd place, and he thinks it’s going to be another difficult campaign even though he insists that it’s one that he’s excited about.
“We're really looking forward to the season,” he told talkSPORT in an interview. “We've got a new training ground, a new building… It's going to be tough. Have you seen that Championship? Where's the small teams now? Where have they gone? No disrespect - Rotherham you're still in there, and you could be a smaller team than everyone else.
"Where's your Wigans? Where's your Blackpools, your Wycombes? There are none anymore. Sheffield Wednesday have come up, Ipswich have come up.
"Leicester have come down. Leeds have come down. Southampton have come down. I am scared."
Ainsworth knows all about Darren Moore’s Owls having faced them a number of times during his time at Wycombe Wanderers, and he’ll no doubt be looking forward to greeting his colleague back up in the Championship following their promotion via the play-offs last month.
Wednesday spent two seasons down in the third tier with Moore at the helm, and he’ll be desperate to get a good start now that he’s got them back out of it.