Chambers: Akinfenwa's Had a Tremendous Career But He's Not Wycombe's Only Threat
Monday, 25th Nov 2019 16:01
Town captain Luke Chambers is relishing tomorrow night’s rearranged top-of-the-table clash with League One leaders Wycombe Wanderers at Portman Road that will pit him against the man they call The Beast, heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa.
The Chairboys are the burly Islington-born attacker’s 13th different club and he has played more games for them than any of his previous employers, while at 16-and-a-half stone, and capable of lifting twice his bodyweight, he is also ranked as the strongest player in the world on the FIFA video game series.
Looking ahead to his latest tussle with the 37-year-old man mountain, Chambers said: “He’s always been the same and he’s had an absolutely tremendous career. You’ve got to respect him for what he’s done. He’s scored a hell of a lot of goals, which people probably don’t even realise.
“He played for my hometown club, Northampton, after I left and he had some good times there. He’s just a good, honest professional and he’s made the most out of his attributes throughout his career. He’s a player that you would like to have in your team.
“From playing against him before I know he’s very, very strong. You can’t get over the top of him and you can’t really poke your toe round him. You’ve just got to try to get yourself into the best position to potentially win a header over the top.
“But you can’t get too bogged down in Akinfenwa because there are a lot of other threats in their team.
“They will look to get it forward as quickly as possible to him and then play off him, which has worked for them so far this season.
“It’s our job to cover round each other, stay with runners and defend properly. Pressure on the ball is needed high up the pitch to stop their deliveries. It’s pretty clear what we need to do.”
Chambers acknowledges this is his side’s biggest game of the season so far. Defeat will see them fall eight points behind their opponents, while a victory will close the gap on Gareth Ainsworth’s men to a mere two points with Town still having two games in hand on them.
He added: “It is just another game but it adds to it that they are flying high and doing really, really well.
“They’ve become the team that everyone is looking at now so it’s an opportunity for us to pick up three points and still have two games in hand.
“We’re still in a good position but we probably didn’t get the result we were after at the weekend against Blackpool so this is another great game for us to get our teeth back into.
“We approach every game with the same mentality. We don’t want to lose any games and we don’t want to draw any games.
“We want to win games and we are setting up as a team to go and win games. There will be opportunities that we don’t take and there will be times when we fall short, but the aim is always to win.
“There’s a bit of extra pressure on this one but probably more so on them, because they’re the ones who have found themselves at the top of the league. We’ll see how they deal with it.
“This is definitely the type of game you want to be involved in as a player. When the original game was called off the lads were itching to get out and play. But, for whatever reason, we’ve called it off and we find ourselves in the position where it’s first versus second.
“The pressure’s potentially on them more than it is on us. We’ll be going out there and we’ll be backed by another 20,000 who have been fantastic for us since the start of the season. It’s one we’re definitely looking forward to and we can’t wait for it tomorrow night.”
Wycombe, who have lost just once in the league this season, have stunned the football world with their progress since last term, when they only narrowly avoided the drop into League Two, finishing a mere three points above the relegation zone with 53 points.
They have already banked 39 points in the current campaign and Chambers added: “I think even their own manager has said he is surprised and they are punching above their weight. But who’s to say that’s wrong? They are scoring goals and they are coming from all over the pitch, and they are playing a certain way that is getting them results.
“They are starting to be a team to be reckoned with and you don’t find yourself in the position they are in if you’re not a good team. We’re fully prepared and looking forward to the battle.”
Tomorrow’s game will see Wycombe skipper Matt Bloomfield in his usual midfield role for the visitors and after launching his career at the Town academy he is still involved there as a part-time coach to today’s aspiring youngsters.
But Chambers has resisted the temptation to ask Bloomfield for inside info on his team, although he revealed the pair are firm friends and in touch with one another on a fairly regular basis. “Matt and I were together at the David Lloyd gym over the summer doing a bit of work,” he said, “and we’ve kept in touch since then.
“But I’ve known Matty since we both started – he was with Wycombe then and I was at Northampton – and we’ve both had pretty good careers. I’ve been looking forward to having a battle against him again but I wouldn’t be asking him for too many tips.
“I think it’s about us playing our game. There will be opportunities and they will try to implement their strengths on us but it’s down to us to take the game to them and that’s what we will be doing.”
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