Time to shine
Wycombe's top scorer Matt McClure discusses his breakthrough season and the club's play-off hopes.
Last Updated: 27/05/13 11:51am
The 2012/13 campaign is about to enter the final straight, with promotion pushes and relegation battles now in full swing.
Here at Sky Sports, we continue to take you to the very heart of the Football League, with our Spotlight features intended to give you a greater insight into the clubs and players that keep us on the edge of our seats.
We are hoping to bring you the views and thoughts of a representative from each of the 72 teams over the course of the season, with those involved asked to give their take on the division they compete in, the club that pays their wages and those we should all be keeping an eye on.
Next in our hot seat is Wycombe Wanderers' top scorer Matt McClure, who is enjoying a breakthrough season at Adams Park and refuses to rule out snatching a play-off spot under play-manager Gareth Ainsworth.
You've burst onto the scene this season as Wycombe's top scorer. Are you happy with how things are going?
Obviously it's sort of a breakthrough season and I've just made myself a regular in the first-team, so I'm happy with that. My performances have been quite good and I'm getting a few goals as well, I'm on 10 now, double figures.
Have you got a goal target in mind that you'd like to smash?
Before the season started, everyone wants to get to the 20 mark, but the season didn't really start how I'd have liked it; I wasn't starting, I wasn't in the squad. But since I've come in and gotten 10, I'm hoping for around the 15 to 20 mark now.
You scored a late winner at Gillingham last month, live on Sky Sports. Was that your best strike of the campaign so far?
That was a good win, especially away from home. On the TV cameras it's always nice to show how far we've come since Gareth Ainsworth has taken over. It was nice, it was probably my favourite goal this season.
When Ainsworth took over as player-manager you were bottom of the table and now you've climbed up to 13th. Where are you aiming for?
I think realistically a top 10 finish would be great. When Gaz came in we were rock-bottom, so to even think about getting a little sniff of the play-offs with 10 games to go is crazy really. But I think everyone at the club would be happy with the top half, or a top 10 finish. The play-offs are still possible but we don't want to get too carried away. It would be nice to creep in this year but we haven't set our hearts on it.
Is there added motivation to get back to League One after relegation in the 2010-11 season?
All the boys that felt that, they want to put it right within their careers. Everyone wants to play at a higher level and hopefully it will be with Wycombe in a couple of years.
You weren't a first-team regular for that campaign but did it still affect you when the club went down?
It was a big disappointment. You have a good friendship with all the boys and see them working their socks off in every game but they're losing every week and it does grind everybody down. It's not a nice feeling to see your friends have that feeling after every game. I was on the bench for most games so I was still in and around the changing room and it wasn't a nice place to be, but it's turned around now and we're looking upwards.
What qualities has Ainsworth brought to the job?
He's just so enthusiastic and it feeds down to all the boys on the pitch as well, whether he's playing or if he's on the sidelines. We can feel his energy and it rubs off on everyone at the club.
Alongside the boss, who are the players you look up to at the club?
Everyone's attitude is spot on. You've only got to look at Gary Doherty, who's played in the Premiership before. He's had a long career and played at a good level. You try and learn off people like that and how they are around the place, how they train and how they commit themselves during the day and try and take it on board and do it yourself.
You struggled with a serious ankle injury last season, has that all cleared up now?
Last year I was out for five months when I dislocated my ankle and I get a few aches and pains now and again but I think they'll probably be there forever. It's as good as it'll ever be and I'm just trying to keep on top of it so hopefully nothing happens again. I'm not the type of character to let it play on my mind. If it happens again, it happens again. I try not to let it affect me.
You've also had a few fitness problems this term, are you back in shape?
When I first came into the team I tweaked my hamstring, and I've had a few little niggly ones like that. It is annoying. I wasn't used to the amount of games I was playing, three games in a week, when I did it. My legs weren't used to the workload with games few and far between, and reserve games are obviously not as intense as first-team games. But hopefully I'm over that now and I'll get a clean run until the end of the season.
You signed a new two-and-a-half year deal to keep you at Wycombe until 2015 last month. As a local lad and a youth product at the club, was it a straightforward choice to make?
It was an easy decision, really. It's near home, I know everyone at the club. I live locally so I know most people there and I've got a good rapport with most people at the club so I feel at home there. It's also the first real chance I've got of playing and the manager has made it clear to me that, if I'm fit, I'll always be in with a shout of starting every game so obviously that played a big part. Playing games is the main objective really.
Were you tempted by any offers from elsewhere?
There were a few whispers but nothing concrete. Like I said, I could move on but not be playing every week, so I'd rather stay at Wycombe for another couple of years, playing every week, and establish myself.
Congratulations on recently becoming a dad for the first time. Hopefully the sleepless nights aren't taking their toll?
She's quite good in the night so I'm still getting eight hours. In a way it's probably spurred me on to succeed a bit more and do her proud. I want to kick on for her. She's already got a little Wycombe vest.
You earned your first Northern Ireland Under-21s cap against Macedonia last year. Are you hoping for more call-ups in the future?
Everyone wants to test themselves against higher players at a higher level so international call-ups will always be welcome. I see it as a good test to see where I stand. I'm eligible through my Grandad so Ireland phoned the club and enquired about me and I jumped at the chance.
You travel to Rochdale in the league at the weekend. Is revenge on the cards after they beat you at home in November?
We've obviously done a bit of training on them this week and we know how they play. We were unlucky against them at home but I think we'll definitely go away and give a good account of ourselves and try and get the three points.
It's fairly tight at the top of the table - who do you think will clinch the trophy?
Gillingham are just too strong to let it slip, I think they're odds-on. I've got a friend there as well, Tom Flanaghan who I know from my time at MK Dons, and he's told me they're looking quite good. It was a tough game when we played them and we managed to get the goal but every time I've seen them they've looked good.