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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s National League South season opener against Dartford on Saturday, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather his thoughts before making his managerial debut for the Stones.

Squad update...

“Kav [Kavan Cotter] trained last night [Tuesday evening]. He’s been training individually and with the physio three times in the last couple of weeks so he looks like he’s back fit. What we’ll look to do with Kavan is get him out on loan to play some games, it’s very important that he doesn’t have a stop-start season [for injuries], we just need to find him a club for him to go to that suits him.

“Northy [Jonathan North] joined in training last night but his ankle is still a bit swollen which isn’t ideal. Ideally we wanted Northy to play with the back four all through pre-season which hasn’t happened but we don’t want to rush him back, twist his ankle again and remain out for longer later in the season. We want him to fully recover and I’ll have him with a specialist on Friday but we will make our decision [on if he plays on Saturday] in the next twenty-four hours.

“We think Dejon [Noel-Williams] was bite by a spider which has infected his leg and ‘round his hip area. The physio sent him straight to hospital last Saturday and he’s been there since but he’s a lucky boy. He’s currently on antibiotics and will be out this weekend [against Dartford], we are grateful that Abbey [Maunders] sent him straight to the hospital.

“Training went well last night and everyone else in the squad is available for selection.”

Preparations for the new season…

“People can probably see over the last few weeks how the team is looking to shape up so the competitiveness in training last night was excellent and we are really happy with how the lads trained. If we can take that into Saturday [against Dartford] then we’ll give ourselves a really solid opportunity of winning.”

On Dartford…

“We know everything about Dartford really, I know [Jamie] Coyle and [Adam] Flanagan really well from managing against them and they are a good management team, they want to improve on what they did last season. They finished second two years ago so it’s a big football club within the division.”

On the Darts’ recruitment over the summer…

“I think they’ve recruited quite well and recruited good experience within their side. They’ve bought in people like Luke Allen, [Darren] McQueen up-front who gives some pace, [Luke] Wanadio on the other side who brings some speed. They’ve got a lot of pace at the top-line and experience at the back with Josh Hill, [Tom] Bonner and [Ronnie] Vint who backs them [Hill and Bonner] up, as well as decent power in full-back areas.

“They have good options now at the top-end of the pitch as well as [Ryan] Hayes and [Ben] Greenhalgh. [Lee] Noble, [Luke] Allen and Billy Crook provide good athleticism and experience in central midfield as well.”

On the physical presence of Dartford…

“The two managers [Coyle and Flanagan] were centre-halves so they play quite defensive, they’ll defend in numbers but also try and hit us on the break. They are a physically strong side and they’ll be very good at restarts and corners. I had Charlie Sheringham with me [at Hemel Hempstead] who’s very good in the air, he could play [on Saturday], they have a few different options.

“It will be interesting to see what formation they come to us with but we’re looking forward to the game. It’s been a six-week pre-season for both teams so supporters [and] everybody is excited for this game, it will be a really top test.”

On the importance of a good start…

“Every three points matters, every point matters, every goal matters. Look at Wealdstone last season, getting in the play-offs on the last day of the season, in the last thirty minutes of the season. If you’re winning four-nil and you concede one, the goal difference could matter.

“If we reach the points total set within the group then we will have an unbelievable season. The average age of our squad is just under twenty-three, if we play to our capabilities then we’re going to be an exciting team to watch because of our ability and our athleticism. It’s a challenge we’re really looking forward to, we look forward to every game so we’re excited.

On making The Vale a fortress…

“Hopefully our supporters can get right behind us at The Vale, but I always say as management and players we have to give you something to sing about. I think it’s really important that we are all in it together and we create the mindset that no opposition wants to come to The Vale. The management, players and supporters can create that togetherness and we can make it [The Vale] a real fortress.”


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