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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s National League South battle at Chelmsford City on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of our visit to the Melbourne Community Stadium.

Squad update…

“As I said last [Tuesday] night, Connor [Smith] is suspended and [Jacob] Mendy is unavailable for this one.

“We’re hoping [Jake] Sheppard will be back with us fully training next week. [Ryan] Sellers is looking like he’s ahead of schedule so we’re waiting for a bit more confirmation of when he can come back with us.

“Dejon [Noel-Williams] is back with us now after his loan ended. [Reece] Beckles-Richards has one more game with Oxford [City] before he’s back with us. We’ve been a bit too far stretched for my liking, I don’t really want to get us in that position again.”

On having a competitive side…

“One-hundred percent, we’ll get the boys back and we want them pushing each other for places. This weekend, players that haven’t played regularly are going to get an opportunity and these guys have to grab them with both hands. We have to keep raising the bar to drive the team forward and when they get their chance, they need to take it.”

On Chelmsford City…

“It’s a really difficult place to go, the way Rod [Stringer]’s teams play make it very difficult for you because they’re a physical, hard-working side. I believe they’ve scored eight goals from restarts in their last four games, so you can’t go there and have an off-day. If you do, you’ll be beat and you’ll be beat heavily.

“There’s no doubt they’re looking to kick-start their season. In my mind, they will kick-start their season soon because Rod [Stringer] is proven at this level and has done the business over the last few years. They haven’t got over the line in the last few years but Rod [Stringer] was promoted with Braintree [in 2011] and I think they [Chelmsford] will be in the title race in March and April.”

On previous entertaining games Dean has had with Chelmsford…

“We’ve had some cracking games there [at Chelmsford]. [We’ve] been on the end of a hiding once [4-0 defeat in 2014], we’ve had some good victories there; some unbelievable three and four-all draws as a management team of Stuart [Maynard], myself and Kingy [Gary King].”

On Chelmsford’s Essex Senior Cup fixture this week…

“We watched them, they had a slight formation change for them in last [Tuesday] night’s performance and I’d imagine they’re quite flexible now. They’ve now got a few centre-halfs in [Adrian] Cascaval, [Dave] Winfield and [Mickey] Spillane who are all experienced players.

“In midfield they’ve got Chez Isaac, Churchy [Anthony Church] their captain, Billy Knott who’s a top player and was playing Football League week-in-week-out not long ago.

“They got Shaun Jeffers, [Sam] Higgins, I could reel them all off. If you look at their squad, they haven’t got kids playing, it’s an experienced squad and it’s a challenge we’re really looking forward to. Like I said before our game against Havant [& Waterlooville], these are the games you want to be involved in.”

On keeping up high performance levels…

“We look for perfection in our performance, it’s what we strive for. I said last time that there’s two sides to the game, the performance and the result. What pleased me about last [Tuesday] night’s performance [against Bristol Manor Farm] was our patience and the insurance behind Billy [Clifford] in Michael Phillips and Connor Smith made sure the opposition couldn’t break on us.

“When you go to places like this, you can’t give someone like Billy Knott time, you can’t give players like [Sam] Higgins and [Chris] Whelpdale time with their right foot. It’s a good challenge for our lads and we’re looking forward to it.

“Our game management is going to be very important in this game, there’s no doubt they’re going to be right after us. It’s Non-League Day so we’re expecting a lot of supporters to be there, we’ll travel well like we do. It’s a really good occasion and the main thing for us is we keep showing the right signs, keep performing well and keep the work ethic as well so when we lose the ball we get it back as soon as possible. If we do all that we’ll be ok.”

On winning the midfield battle…

“The midfield battle and the physical battle are always very important when you go there [to Chelmsford]. We have to make sure we match their physicality because they like to get up and get at you and the physical challenge will be tough for us because I wouldn’t say that we are the most physical side.

“We’ll have to have technical players do the other [physical] side of the game and hopefully they can do that.”


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