The managers have been talking pre-match, with José Mourinho, as he did before Spurs overcame Marine, telling his players the responsibility to deliver rests on their shoulders, not his. Gareth Ainsworth reveals he has shown his players clips of their 4-3 defeat at White Hart Lane in 2017 to remind his players that Spurs are not superhuman. Joe Jacobson, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Dom Gape and Scott Kashket remain from that side. “I played some of the goals from four years ago just to say: ‘Look, it can be done,’” says Ainsworth, wearing a Guns ‘N’ Roses face mask.
“Fingers crossed we can have a bit of luck as well. I can’t remember a better subs bench than Tottenham’s tonight. We won’t sit back. We want to go at them and show what we have done over the last four years since we played Tottenham and how we have grown as a team.” Mourinho says mentality will be key to deciding the tie. Teams from lower leagues but Premier League teams in difficulties, so you can consider this game a high risk,” says the Portuguese.
Twenty years ago, Wycombe made it to the FA Cup semi-finals. They battled past Millwall, Grimsby and Wolves before overcoming Wimbledon – for whom now-Wycombe boss Ainsworth scored – on penalties. Then they beat Leicester in the quarter-finals, with Roy Essandoh striking an unlikely winner, before Liverpool eventually ended their extraordinary journey at Villa Park.
Tottenham are unbeaten in seven games and, while Wycombe’s form is not quite so splendid, they have won two of their past three matches. They are propping up the Championship and the club’s hierarchy view the league as the priority but how they would love to cause an upset. Chorley and Cheltenham went close to toppling Premier League opposition – but can Wycombe go one step better?
We were the last away team to score three goals at White Hart Lane in 2017, which is a real privilege for Wycombe Wanderers. It was a really historic moment for us. We were close that day, we didn’t quite finish the job, but at the end of the game there were some really big hitters on that pitch for Spurs, including Son Heung-min who got the winner.
Team news news: Gareth Bale gets a rare outing at Adams Park as Mourinho makes 10 changes, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane taking pews on the bench. Carlos Vinicius, who enjoyed himself at Marine in the last round, gets the nod up front, while Harry Winks, Joe Hart and Japhet Tanganga also start. As for Wycombe, the evergreen Matt Bloomfield captains Gareth Ainsworth’s side. Adebayo Akinfenwa is among the substitutes.
Wycombe (4-4-2): Allsop; Grimmer, Knight, McCarthy, Jacobson; Wheeler, Thompson, Bloomfield, Onyedinma; Ikpeazu, Muskwe
Subs: Stockdale, Samuel, Pattison, Mehmeti, Adeniran, McCleary, Charles, Kashket, Akinfenwa
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Hart; Tanganga, Sánchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Bale, Lamela, Lucas Moura; Carlos Vinicius
Subs: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Rodon, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Bergwijn, Son, Kane
Referee: Jon Moss
Now, I know Frank Lampard’s departure from Stamford Bridge has caused a royal stir but, well, if Wycombe can send José Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur packing in the FA Cup then we might just land on a tale that would give even a club legend like Lamps unceremoniously being shown the door a run for its money. Fair enough, Wycombe are not quite what they used to be. These days, just one league separates them and Spurs but, while Wycombe were taken over by an American lawyer last year, they are run on fumes compared with the financial muscle Mourinho is able to lean on. The last and only previous competitive meeting between these sides was a humdinger – Spurs won 4-3 in a fourth-round Cup match at White Hart Lane courtesy of a 97th-minute Son Heung-min winner, at a time when Gareth Ainsworth’s side were meddling in League Two – so hopefully we are set for another cracking tie. Ainsworth, as you will almost certainly know by now, is also the lead singer of the Cold Blooded Hearts, but Mourinho won’t be joining him for band practice any time soon. “I only feel sorry I cannot sing with him because I will destroy his music,” he said. Wild Thing v Mourinho: what more could you want?
Kick-off: 7.45pm (GMT)