Gareth Ainsworth is in high-demand in the Football League, but what will the Wycombe Wanderers manager be thinking right now?
The League One table is springing up some surprises after 11 games of the season. Portsmouth slumped in 16th, Fleetwood flying high in third and Wycombe wondering what went right as they find themselves 2nd.
Having lost just one league game all season, Wycombe and their long-serving gaffer Gareth Ainsworth could be heading into the second-tier of English football for the first time in the club’s history.
Ainsworth played his 600th professional football match in 2013 as Wycombe’s player-manager and soon after retired from playing to focus fully on managing the club.
Nearing his 400th game in charge, Ainsworth is so far guiding Wycombe to an unprecedented promotion push in League One which would be their second in three seasons.
Wycombe’s season has garnered interest in Ainsworth. Last month he was linked to the vacant Lincoln City job, but played it down with his intentions lying fully in Buckinghamshire.
This month he’s been linked with another League One job with Sunderland. Jack Ross was sacked on Tuesday morning after a weekend defeat to Lincoln, and Ainsworth has become the front-runner for the job.
On this occasion though, Ainsworth has said he’s ‘open to anything’, hinting at a possible interest in moving up North.
Since taking the Wycombe job six years ago, Ainsworth has been quietly working away at his project and has made something special at the club – would he want to throw that away now?
On the other hand, the Sunderland job is one of the most prestigious in the Football League, and Ainsworth may well be thinking that if he doesn’t take that chance now, then he may never get it again? It’s a club in crisis though, and the job doesn’t hold as much promise as it once did. He may feel that with his team doing so unexpectedly well this season, he could even go a step further. After 11 games of the season and his side still producing, Ainsworth must surely feel that they’re capable of great success this year, and could opt to stay and see what his team can accomplish.
Wycombe fans will plead with Ainsworth, who has so far stayed loyal to the club, to remain in charge for at least another season. But the offer from Sunderland could prove too lucrative if presented, and Ainsworth may be tempted up to Wearside.