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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s derby day visit to Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts before returning to Vauxhall Road.

Squad update…

“Ryan Sellers is out, he’s got to have a scan. Something’s not right for him so he’s going to have a scan.

“Dejon [Noel-Williams] will be available for selection, he’s recovered.

“Northy [Jonathan North] is making progress week-by-week, he’s nearly there and could be available for selection soon as well.

“Kavan [Cotter] and Cookie [Jacob Cook] are both out on loan [at Farnborough and Hayes & Yeading]. We felt they both needed to go and get some games, which is important for their development.

“Everyone else is available and we’re happy with what we’ve got.”

On Hemel Hempstead…

“Very hard-working side, very well organised. They have a lot of ability, especially in wide areas [and] at the top-end of the pitch they have some very talented players in [Isaac] Galliford, [Liam] Nash and [Sam] Ashford.

“Both centre-halves [Connor Essam and Tyrone Sterling] are experienced and they have good pace and power in full-back areas. They are a good side, I can see why they’ve won three in four games. They have a good attitude to the game, they run hard and far and also have an experienced goalkeeper [Sam Beasant].”

On Hemel’s recruitment…

“I think their [Hemel’s] recruitment [this summer] has been excellent. I know they have had a couple of injuries which I’ve seen in their team selection over the last three or four games but they have a good squad. They’ve managed to win three of their four games which is impressive.”

On Hemel’s character…

“They’ve been able to win ugly on a couple of occasions, they managed to win [2-1] at Hampton [& Richmond] after going behind so they’ve got character and it should be a game of two good sides that have started the first couple of weeks of the season well. It’s a game we’re really looking forward to.”

On preparing for a derby…

“I think the rivalry has grown, I don’t know if there was a rivalry there before I was there [Hemel Hempstead] as manager. When I joined Hemel, we were promoted from the league below and Gordon [Bartlett] got Wealdstone up from the Ryman League. I think we were promoted in the same year and then we had some derbies against each other.

“To be fair to our [Wealdstone] supporters, they always brought a strong hold [to Vauxhall Road] and created a great atmosphere. There’s been some really great games between the both of us, I remember Elliot Benyon scoring a hat-trick [in November 2016] when it looked like the game was going to go the other way.

“The rivalry has basically been created from the back of both teams having success and both clubs becoming seasoned National League South sides. In my opinion, these games are about who’s going to be braver and who’s really going to want the ball when tackles are flying in. I always find that’s very important in these games and you see where the real quality is.

“Both teams will want to go into it saying we want to play the way we want to play and see who will affect the game. It will be two honest teams with plenty of ability and with young [and] ambitious managers.”

On our different character that was on display this week…

“We’ll keep taking it one game at a time. We showed a different type of character last night [Tuesday against Chippenham] where we shut the shop. The way Chippenham run hard, Hemel run hard as well. Hemel have serious quality at the top-end of the pitch and have top attacking players for this division.

“On Tuesday, we said we would shut up shop when usually we would look to go for the second [goal]. When we put our players to that task, creative players like Billy Clifford and Danny Green were asked to do a different job and be a bit more defensive and reliable to get the job done and they done that. They have enough football intelligence to understand that’s what we have to do to shut the game out.”

On returning back to his old club…

“I’m looking forward to going back and seeing people. I always thank Dave [Boggins] and Emily [Boggins] for the opportunity they gave me. Without their opportunity, I wouldn’t be managing Wealdstone today so I’m looking forward to seeing them.

“From one forty-five [pm] to five pm, we’ll be rivals but after that we’ll have a little drink in the bar after and have a conversation with friends. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of friends and we’re looking forward to the game.”


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