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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

Wealdstone are back on the road in the National League South as the league leaders travel to fifth-placed Bath City on Saturday afternoon; Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of visiting Twerton Park.

Squad update…

“We’re hoping Kav [Kavan Cotter] can join in [training] tomorrow [Thursday]. [Ryan] Sellers is still a week or two [from returning to training].

“Connor Stevens is suspended. I’m not fuming with Connor [Stevens] at all, but common sense could have prevailed there and that’s the way it goes. That’s a major test for our group now with one of our main centre-halves suspended.

“Sanchez [Watt] is out with a hairline fracture in his foot and will probably need three weeks before he can start his recovery.

“Still looking at the New Year for George [McLennan] and Oxo [Aston Oxborough].”

On Tuesday’s Middlesex Cup win against Hayes & Yeading…

“It was a great victory [and] obviously a derby. They [Hayes & Yeading] had three or four of their starting line-up out and their goalkeeper got injured. The game started with really good intensity, we finished our chances well in the first half and scored some brilliant goals.

“The player’s attitude to the game was spot-on and I thought the performance was very strong.”

On Bath City…

“Guaranteed they [Bath City] will finish [the season] in the play-offs. They are a very dynamic and technical side with good athleticism and they play two formations which they can change mid-game, so they’re really well-drilled and well-coached.

“Twerton Park is one of the toughest places to go within the division, I’ve only won their once which was last season with Billericay [Town]. Even that night when we won, Bath [City] asked a lot of questions of us.

“What they do really well is they move the opposition around and are patient when they do that, they score a lot of good team goals. It will definitely be a good game [and] a tactical battle, I really enjoy these types of games because tactically we have to be good and every player has to play their part in this game to get a result.”

On breaking down the best defence in the National League South…

“I think we have strengths in a lot of different areas, we spread our goals throughout the team. Our goals came from central midfield, the centre forward and from wide last Saturday [against Concord Rangers] which has been consistent from us.

“The consistency and our aim we need is clean sheets. It’s what stands you in good stead and it has for Bath as well; they’ve really got going in the last six-eight weeks.

“When you go to these places [Twerton Park] in the position we’re in [top of the league], it’s important to go there and get a result, having the mentality of making the sacrifice for the team.

“We made that sacrifice really well last Saturday [against Concord], we made thirty-nine tackles in the opposition’s half. The week before against Royston [Town], we only made two [tackles in Royston’s half] in the first half. Against Concord, we also made a lot of blocks as they had a lot of corners, we defended collectively in our formation and shape really well.

“We’ve been top [of the league] for a very long time, teams will raise their game against us, we did well to dispatch Concord three-nil because I thought they were good last Saturday. We’ll have to keep defending collectively well and be dangerous on the attack.”

On taking positive momentum into the busy Christmas period…

“It’s been a good week for us by winning three-nil [against Concord] and scoring six last [Tuesday] night [against Hayes & Yeading], incorporating young players like [Eric] Lopes and bringing on a couple of young trialists [on Tuesday].

“Willy [William Edjenguele] has been short of minutes recently so it was good that he got some game time.

“It’s going to be a difficult game this weekend, especially with Connor [Stevens] missing because he’s such a key player for us. We can only go one-game at a time [during this period], the good thing about playing Saturday is we play in the league again on Tuesday so we’ll have an opportunity to kick-on or bounce back, depending on Saturday’s result.”

Final thoughts…

“I like these types of games because collectively, we have to be on our game and keep the game simple. The management team have watched a lot of Bath, we’re in admiration of their philosophy and the way they play. They have a really good manager [Jerry Gill] who no-doubt will go onto bigger and better things in my opinion.

“At this moment in time, we’re the team in the driving seat. We’ll go there [Twerton Park] with our game plan and hopefully we can execute it.”


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