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Spurs v Wycombe - analysis with Gary Doherty

Thu 26 January 2017, 11:17|Tottenham Hotspur

Versatile Republic of Ireland international Gary Doherty played for both Spurs and Wycombe Wanderers during his career and was with the League Two club as recently as 2014, making him the ideal man to assess Saturday’s intriguing FA Cup fourth round tie at White Hart Lane.

Gary Doherty

Eight goals in 78 appearances for Spurs, 2000-2004
Finished his playing career at Wycombe, 2012-2014
Deployed as both a centre-half and centre-forward
Won 34 caps for Republic of Ireland
Also represented Luton Town, Norwich City and Charlton Athletic

Gary on Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth

“I loved my time under him, he was fantastic. He’s really energetic and he’s got some real good ideas. He’s a good guy and I’m sure the lads love him. He’s terrific at getting a good team spirit going and to be honest that’s probably his main attribute – he can really bond the team together. I hope they put up a good show on Saturday.”

Above: Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth.

Chairboys’ tactics

“In fairness they’ve been playing more of a 4-5-1 so I’d expect that to be the case again. Wycombe are very strong defensively, they’ve been on a fantastic run and they don’t concede many goals so that’ll give them a lot of confidence. They’ve got a fantastic keeper on loan from Chelsea, Jamal Blackman, so if he plays that will be a big bonus because defensively they’ve been outstanding.”

Who are their star players?

“I’d say the two centre-halves. When the team’s not conceding many goals you look at the back four with Joe Jacobson, Aaron Pierre, Anthony Stuart and Sido Jombati playing right-back – they’re really strong. Gareth is terrific at setting the team up defensively so it’s going to be really interesting, especially if Tottenham make some changes which you might expect them to do at this stage of the season. It won’t be a walkover, maybe if Tottenham get an early goal it could be four or five but if they don’t, they might find it a bit tricky.”

Above: Joe Jacobson in action against Stourbridge in round three.  

Taking advantage of set-pieces

“If you’re in the Wycombe changing room you just want to hold on for dear life, maybe get to half-time and then get a set-play somewhere. You’re obviously looking at set-pieces because it’s going to be tricky to break the Tottenham team down. Mauricio Pochettino sets his team out fantastically and their defensive record is absolutely amazing as well so you wouldn’t expect Wycombe to get many chances, but you’re always going to get the odd set-piece chance. Knowing Gareth, I’m sure that’s what the Wycombe lads have been working on all week, just trying to make the best use of the one or two free-kicks or corners that they do get.”

Magic of the FA Cup

“It’s still there, the romance. Wycombe will take a huge crowd to White Hart Lane so we’ve got that to look forward to and I think it’s fantastic for both clubs to be honest. I’ve spoken to the guys at Wycombe and there’s a lot of excitement in the changing room because a lot of their lads obviously haven’t had the opportunity to play at White Hart Lane and these sorts of stadiums, so for those boys it’s going to be a dream come true. The Tottenham lads have got a lot to play for as well, especially the ones who are on the fringes. They’ll be hoping to come in and impress, especially against a team from the fourth tier. They’ll want to stand out so it’s also a big game for them.”

Above: Gary in action for Wycombe in 2013.

Potential for squad rotation

“The funny thing is, it’s not actually that easy for the players that might come in and I always think teams struggle if they make wholesale changes. If Tottenham don’t get an early goal they might find it a bit difficult because the Wycombe lads are going to be hell-for-leather, they’re having a fantastic season and a great run so they’re going to be on top of their game. If Spurs only make four or five changes to go along with some of the senior pros who’ve been playing all season you’d expect Tottenham to beat Wycombe but if not, you just never know. It might be a bit trickier than people think.”

Gary on his time at Wycombe

“I really enjoyed my time there. Gary Waddock took me down there, then Gareth Ainsworth took over and I loved it. In the end it was just a shame that I couldn’t keep fit. I had a few operations towards the end and in those leagues if you’re always injured you really feel like you’re not earning your money. Every penny counts so it was a bit of a no-brainer for me just to say ‘no, I can’t continue’ and for them to maybe invest my wages in younger players who can play 30 or 40 games a season.”

Above: Gary in our colours in 2003.

On his Spurs stint

“I got off to a flyer but then the injury kind of killed my Tottenham career really. I got the break in my ankle and my leg and when you’re out for a year, it’s quite hard to come back and be the same player, especially with all the changing of positions as well. Everyone was good to me down there though, it’s a fantastic club and it’s great to see how well they’re doing. Long may it continue!”

Gary on what he’s doing now

“I’m doing a bit of scouting and agent work. It just keeps me in the game and allows me to get to matches still. Obviously I still love football so I’m happy to be able to go to games and mentor young players.”

Above: Gary in action for the Spurs Legends side in 2016.