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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Chairboys set to book their seats in Wembley final

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth is plotting a cup upset
1 of 1

EFL Trophy semi-final
Sky Sports 1, 7.30pm

Wycombe have not reached the final of a knockout competition since winning the FA Trophy in 1993 but they can set up a Wembley date in the EFL Trophy by beating semi-final opponents Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.

Changes to the competition format this season have included the end of two-legged semi-finals.

But home advantage may not be of significant value to Sky Bet League One basement boys Coventry, who are struggling to play their best football in front of an understandably disgruntled set of supporters.

Saturday's 2-0 loss at home to Millwall left Coventry eight points adrift of safety in the relegation battle.

They have shortened to 2-9 for a bottom four finish and it is hard to see how manager Russell Slade, appointed in late-December, is going to turn the situation around.

Five of Coventry's 11 victories this season have come in the EFL Trophy, although three of them were against Under-21 opposition.

They were 4-2 winners away to Wycombe in the group stage, but there was very little riding on a match which took place after both teams had secured qualification for the last 32.

Reaching the final would be some consolation to long-suffering Sky Blues fans but Slade's men approach the match low on confidence after losing their last four league games without scoring a goal.

Coventry failed to find a solution to their goalscoring problems in the January window and are now reportedly considering a move for veteran striker Yakubu, who has been without a club since being released by Turkish side Kayserispor at the end of last season.

While desperation seems to be setting in at Coventry, optimism is in the air at Wycombe with the club pushing strongly for promotion from Sky Bet League Two.

The Chairboys moved up to sixth with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at home to Portsmouth on Saturday and showed their aptitude for knockout football when going down to a thrilling 4-3 defeat at Tottenham in the FA Cup fourth round.

Their late collapse at White Hart Lane was a major disappointment, but tears of joy could follow with Wycombe set to reach the EFL Trophy final for the first time in their history.

Recommendation
Wycombe to qualify
1pt 6-5 Sky Bet


Key stat
Wycombe have lost two of their last 19 matches

Team news
Coventry
Jordan Willis's League One suspension does not apply to EFL Trophy games but on loan Derby striker Charles Vernam (shoulder) is unavailable and Farrend Rawson, Nathan Clarke and Kevin Foley are cup-tied.

Wycombe Aaron Pierre was substituted with an injury at the weekend and is a doubt. Will De Havilland is likely to come in alongside Anthony Stewart at centre-back. Matt Bloomfield (groin) and Paris Cowan-Hall (hamstring) are out.

Probable teams
Coventry
(4-4-2): Burge; Kelly-Evans, Willis, Turnbull, Haynes; Thomas, Rose, Reilly, Reid; Beavon, Tudgay.
Subs: Charles-Cook, Stevenson, Bigirimana, Jones, Gadzhev, Lameiras, Harries.

Wycombe (4-2-3-1): Brown; Jombati, Stewart, De Havilland, Jacobson; Gape, O'Nien; Thompson, Kashket, Wood; Akinfenwa.
Subs: Hayes, Pierre, Saunders, Jakubiak, Weston, Bean, Harriman.

Five of Coventry's 11 victories this season have come in the EFL Trophy, although three of them were against Under-21 opposition
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