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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s return to National League South action against Concord Rangers on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of hosting the Beach Boys at The Vale.

Squad update…

“Kav [Kavan Cotter] will be back training with the group next week. Hopefully he can get through full training next week and then the week after he’ll be available for selection.

“We’re hoping [Ryan] Sellers can be back with the group in two weeks and could be available for selection in three weeks, we’ll see how it goes.

“Oxo [Aston Oxborough] is four-to-five weeks away. George [McLennan] is going to get his pins taken out in the next couple of weeks, I spoke to his yesterday [Wednesday] and kept in regular contact; hopefully that will all be successful and start working towards getting fit in the New Year.”

On training following Tuesday’s postponement…

“We had a practice game at training on Tuesday night with really good tempo and competitiveness. We played a seventy-minute game and we were happy with how it went; a couple of trialists were involved who impressed us.

“After we train like that, we’ve got to take that into the game when the opposition will try to stop you. I was happy with training [on Tuesday] and tonight [Thursday] we have a quiz night after training which is great for team bonding.

“Eighty percent of the guys usually do that anyway, but tonight everyone in the squad is going to it. The long away trips are great for team bonding when we do a bit of karaoke and we’ve not had one since the start of October.

“We’ve got a good bunch of lads that the coaching staff, the club, the supporters and I all believe in. We need to keep working hard and keeping that togetherness, we can’t let results get in our way of our togetherness because we’ve created it and it’s very difficult to build that.”

On the month we’ve had…

“November hasn’t been an ideal month for us, we’ve had four games cancelled and football can change very quickly either on a positive or a negative result.

“We’re at home on Saturday, we’ll attack it on the front-foot, bring energy into our game and the team will be freshened up.”

On Concord Rangers…

“Concord [Rangers] will sit in, they have a lot of pace on the break. They play four-five-one with a [number] ten and they’ve scored a lot of goals from their three-man central midfield area.

“They have a couple of lads on loan from Huddersfield, obviously the Cowley brothers used to manage Concord a few seasons ago so have loaned them some players.

“Looking at their bench on Tuesday [against Slough Town], they had the likes of Danny Green, Lee Minshull and [Decarrey] Sheriff who are good players for our level.

“They have that strength in depth within their squad now and you can see that in their results. They’ve only lost one of their last five games which is strong form and their last six fixtures have all been against sides in the top seven. They’ve scored against all of them and come out of those with good results, that’s a warning in itself.

“They are a good side and Concord [Rangers] have always had that togetherness, they are an established Conference South team. It’s going to be a difficult game, they have good players and good pace that can hurt any team.”

On the challenge of Saturday and bouncing back…

“We’re looking forward to the challenge, you’ve got to enjoy these moments and enjoy this challenge. You’ve got to enjoy sticking your chest out, enjoy working hard for each other [and] we all have to do it.

“We need to give our supporters something to sing about. We’re going to have downs, that’s part of life. The components we’ve got to get right are the management team, the players, the board and the supporters, those four all have to stick together.

“That creates a community, a positive environment and togetherness; we’ve got to make sure we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet and making sure we strive towards three points.

“We’ll be looking for another positive result [this weekend], we’ve had so many this year. We’re looking forward to see how we respond from the two defeats on the bounce, it’s an exciting challenge.”

On sustaining a clean sheet against a free-scoring Concord…

“The key is to get back to clean sheets. We’ve got to defend better, it’s not just the back four, we have to defend from the front. When teams play the side [that’s] top of the division after sixteen games, they will try five or ten percent harder so we have to push fifteen or twenty percent harder and horrible to play against like we have been in recent months and get on the front-foot.

“They is not one easy game in this division, Concord [Rangers] probably thought they would beat Hungerford a few weeks ago and lost a month ago. You have to be at your very best every game and it’s a slog. We’re almost into December and the winter months with ten games in the next six weeks which isn’t easy.

“Winning a league title or gaining a promotion is not easy, it takes every inch and sacrifice out of you [and] with the position we are in now, it’s what we are striving to do alongside many other clubs.”

On the atmosphere at The Vale this Saturday…

“Let’s see how we get on Saturday and hopefully we can get a big response. We need The Vale rocking [on Saturday], we need the supporters to really drive us forward. We have to show character and togetherness now, when everyone comes through that gate, I want them to enjoy it.

“I want people coming away from our football games saying our team worked hard and gave it everything. We have to keep that same appetite that we did in the second half last week [against Royston Town].

“We can’t start as sluggish as we did for the first half or be as sluggish as we were in the second half at Dorking [Wanderers] or Hampton [& Richmond]. Overall through the ninety minutes [on Saturday], we have to be much better.”


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