Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts
Ahead of a busy week for Wealdstone starting with National League South action on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of Eastbourne Borough’s visit to The Vale.
“To be honest, we haven’t been in because the game was off last [Tuesday] night, so I don’t fully know. We’re hoping that Michael [Phillips] will train on Thursday and see how he comes though that. Obviously, we have a big week next week, so we’ve got decisions to make on selection, and if we change team. After this one, until Christmas, they’ll be no more midweek league fixtures.
“Next week is going to be another pivotal week, starting Saturday, and we hope to have Michael back, but I think it’ll be a bit too early for Ross [Lafayette]. But we always knew that was going to be the plan.
“Billy [Clifford] and [Jacob] Mendy are back, which is a great bonus for us.
“People like [Ryan] Sellers are long term. [Kavan] Cotter will hopefully start doing a bit next week, but he’s probably a player that will go out on loan, and when [Ryan] Sellers comes back in December, he’ll probably go out on loan as well. All in all, things are starting to look up.”
On Dorking last Saturday...
“Their goal on Saturday when I spoke to you after the game; I felt it was either a dive or a free kick. When you look back at their first goal on Saturday, it’s an embarrassing refereeing decision.
“We had two or three great chances to go further ahead. That’s huge. That could cost us at the end of the season. That’s a decision that is unacceptable and we’ve had no contact about it, it was a big turning point of the game.”
Our disciplinary record...
“I think we’re pretty fair with referees. Our discipline record; within the division, we’ve had a lot of yellow cards, but I don’t think we’re a dirty team, I really don’t. I think we’re a good technical team with a lot of speed. We play a technical way [and] we play an overloading way."
On the upcoming fixtures...
“When you get three games in a week, or four games in 14 days, they are really good opportunities. So we have to make sure we grab the opportunity that’s coming our way in the next week. League games wise, three in a week; one at home, two away.
“It gives us an opportunity to pick up a good amount of points, but we’ll continue to take it one game at a time. But these will be key elements for us within the season."
On Eastbourne Borough...
“We’re looking forward to Eastbourne; they’ve employed a new manager, Danny Bloor. There’s no doubt that the players are going to want to impress him; probably the ones that haven’t been playing, as he’ll have different ideas to the previous manager. Danny [Bloor]’s a good guy, so there’s no doubt that he’s chomping at the bit.
“They’ve gone to Maidstone and got a result, and they’ve been to Havant [& Watelooville] and got a result. On both occasions they got clean sheets. Their away record isn’t too shabby; to go there and get clean sheets against two full-time teams.
“They’re a decent outfit. They probably haven’t scored enough goals. If they scored more goals, they’d probably be further up the division.
“Obviously, there’s some kind of turmoil going on in the background financially, but it seems like they’ve cleaned everything up. They’re a good football club; they always have been a good football club.
“They’ve been to St. Albans and won. They’ve been to Hemel [Hempstead] and got a draw. They’ve been to Bath and got a draw. They’ve been to Welling and got a draw. They’ve gone to Tonbridge [Angels] and won. They’ve been to some really tough places in this division, they’re good away from home.
“They have got good players. The lad [Greg] Luer is a good player; they’ve got good attacking players. Kane Wills in midfield, a creative midfield player.
“They’re a decent outfit and we’re going to have to be at our best; we’re going to have to raise the standards a little bit. We’ve got to start getting clean sheets, I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy with it, but we need to improve on it.”
On improving our clean sheets...
“That’s part of my job, part of my responsibility, to make sure that our discipline’s better, our clean sheets haven’t been good enough over the last few weeks.
“I can’t remember the last time we got a clean sheet. Our last clean sheet was six games ago; five league games ago since we had a clean sheet. That for me, needs to be better, it needs to improve.
“I know we want to play attacking, be on the front foot, and be dynamic, overrun, overplay, and outplay the opposition, but we need to get back to the bread and butter of clean sheets.
“That’s the message we’ll be going through with the players on Thursday; working on tightening up a little bit. If we can do that and get it right going forward, we have the capabilities of beating anybody in the division.”
On the fans...
“We’re looking forward to getting the stadium rocking again. I thought our supporters at Dorking were outstanding.
“The noise, when you come out through the tunnel, and they were cheering us back in, and we had a bit of a tough time in the last ten minutes. They were cheering us on and helping us get that point.
“We should be all really proud of ourselves as a football club, as that’s what it’s all about. Our supporters are the main reason we do it all.
“Our players appreciate our supporter’s financial sacrifices to travel to Dorking and Maidenhead and we’ve got that togetherness that’s created, and long may it continue.”
On the style we want to play against Eastbourne Borough...
“We’ll play the way we play, which is front foot; high tempo; give the ball away, get it back. Earn the right to be creative; earn the right to do what you’re good at...everything that gets our supporters on our side. I always say you’ve got to give our supporters something to cheer about.
“What they saw last Saturday was an honest, a genuinely honest hardworking display from our players.”
On Dejon Noel-Williams...
“Dejon’s stats came back in, and his sprinting stats were absolutely phenomenal. It just shows that if you’re prepared to get yourself in the six-yard box like Dejon did, on plenty of occasions, and you’re prepared to work your socks off for the team, you can be successful and score goals in this division.
“Someone like Dejon, I’ve always said he’ll be a late developer. I thought he epitomised our performance last weekend, and the gratitude towards his hard work was outstanding.”
On the management team and squad continuing to work hard...
“That’s how we’ve got to be. Nothing has put us in this position apart from hard work and solid organisation, which we’re got; and being in it together, everyone creating that togetherness.
“I think everyone appreciates the graft that our players are putting in at the minute.”