SAM VOKES insists Gareth Ainsworth has not been distracted by talk of a Championship move.
And the Wycombe striker says winning this month’s League One play-offs could even be the carrot for long-serving Ainsworth to stay put at Adams Park.
Wycombe chief Gareth Ainsworth is reportedly on Championship side Blackburn’s shortlist but is focused on the play-offs, says Sam VokesCredit: PA
Striker Sam Vokes admits his future is ‘up in the air’ but says he’d love to play in the Championship with WycombeCredit: Rex
SunSport revealed on Monday Ainsworth is on the shortlist for the Blackburn job to replace Tony Mowbray, who is set to leave at the end of his contract.
The 48-year-old has also been linked with Watford.
But Vokes, who faces MK Dons in the home semi-final first leg on Thursday night, is confident his team-mates will not be derailed in their promotion bid.
Vokes said: “There’s no distraction from us. Gareth has been at the club for nine years and over 500 games and where he has taken the club, from the brink to the Championship last season and hopefully on the verge of doing it again, has been brilliant.
“It’s natural that he gets linked with those jobs.
“I know he is fully focused on this job. He was desperate to get into the play-offs. The players will be playing for him and he will do everything on behalf of the players to get there as well.”
In fact, Wycombe’s best bet of extending Ainsworth’s tenure to a decade could be overcoming their Buckinghamshire rivals and then emerging victorious in the Wembley final on May 21.
When asked about that scenario of making an instant return to the second tier of English football, Vokes added: “Yes, of course. That is a side of it.
“You can never tell what is going to happen in the future but, having spoken to him and the way he speaks to the team, I know he is fully committed on getting us to the Championship.”
Vokes scored 16 goals to help Wycombe seal the final play-off spot in sixth with a 2-1 final day win at Burton on Saturday while the Chairboys received a favour from opponents MK Dons after their 5-0 thrashing of Plymouth, who finished in seventh place.
The Wales forward said: “There were nerves going into the final day. We were relying on results elsewhere.
“Every now and again I heard a cheer go up among our away fans at Burton.
“I had scored just before half-time and then I found out MK Dons were three up at Plymouth so it was in our hands and it made the second half a little less stressful.
“League positions don’t really make a difference now. It’s a two-game shootout and we are buzzing for the game.
I have won promotion but not through a play-off at Wembley. I can only imagine that feeling. I am craving that and dreaming of that day.
“The Wales forward, who has won automatic promotion three times with Wolves and Burnley but none via the play-offs, said: “It’s been a fantastic season and we have earned the right to be in the top six.
“It’s probably been one of the toughest League Ones I’ve ever seen in terms of points and club size and strength wise. It’s been a massive achievement but it all starts here.
“There’s no better feeling than promotion. I have won promotion through the league but not through winning a play-off at Wembley.
“I can only imagine what that feeling would be like. I am craving for that and I am dreaming of that day. That spurs us on.
“I haven’t played in a play-off game but Wycombe as a club and the group of players have been involved in many occasions like this.
“The manager and senior players have a lot of experience in the play-offs and that should play into our hands.”
Vokes signed for Wycombe from Stoke last summer on an initial one-year deal with the option of another 12 months.
But the 64-cap Welshman is just focused on the play-offs.
Vokes said: “The last couple of years at Stoke were on and off for me. I wasn’t getting regular football. But I have really enjoyed myself here.
“As a striker you want to be scoring goals so to hit those numbers is nice and hopefully I can add a few more in the next couple of weeks.
“My future is still up in the air. I signed a one year deal and then I’ll see what happens at the end of the season. It will be great to be part of this club back in the Championship.”