Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts
Ahead of Wealdstone’s next league fixture at Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of our visit to The Beveree.
“Both of the lads [Connor Stevens and Michael Phillips] are fit, they would’ve been fit if the game was on last night [Tuesday against Billericay]. Connor [Stevens] got some treatment in on Sunday, so he made those sacrifices to go and see somebody [on] Sunday. Michael [Phillips] will be training on Thursday. We had a practice game last night [Tuesday] in training because obviously the game was off.
“All we’ve got now is [Ryan] Sellers, [Kavan] Cotter, and Rossco [Ross Lafayette]. We’re hoping Ross [Lafayette] can train tomorrow [Thursday] night, if he can train tomorrow night that would be a real, major boost.
“Obviously Oxo’s [Aston Oxborough] broken his hand in training last week, so he’s going to be out for between six to ten weeks. They [Norwich City] don’t know exactly how long he’s going to be out for, but sort of that kind of time frame.
“We got a recall on Northy [Jonathan North], so we have to use him; a good experienced goalkeeper coming back, who’s obviously a legend at the football club. All in all, it’s just something that we had to do.”
On new signing Jack Jebb…
“Jebby [Jack Jebb] is a player I’ve admired from afar for a long time. He hasn’t been playing regularly. Obviously, it’s something that we wanted to do and we were able to make it happen, so I’m delighted he was able to join us.”
On Hampton and Richmond Borough...
“The last two results that they’ve lost [against Dartford and Weymouth] were tight games; it’s not as if they were beaten two or three nil, it was one goal in the game. I watched the game at Dartford live, and I’ve watched the Weymouth game back; they were a little bit unlucky at times not to get something there, they were two strong performances.
“They work extremely hard, Gary [McCann]’s strengthened them in recent weeks. They’ve gone and brought some experience in; Coxy [Sam Cox], Jefferson Louis; some ex-players from Wealdstone.
“So as we say, there’s no easy game in the division. The last two games they lost, which was against Weymouth and Dartford; two good sides in good form. Kingy’s [Steve King] gone in at Dartford, there’s only one goal in the game and they lost 2-1 in both games. So when you actually look at it from that point of view, they’re tight games.
“When I watched them against Dartford, their work ethic was excellent; they worked their socks off, and they’re well-organised. They’ve got experience at centre half in [Charlie] Wassmer and [Dean] Inman.
“It’s going to be a difficult game, but we’re looking forward to it; it’ll be a good test. When you’re at the top of the table, you’re always seen as a bit of a scalp, so we’ve got to keep the same mentality, keep the same focus [and] same work ethic. There’s no doubt our supporters will go over in their droves again and drive us on.”
On not underestimating Hampton and Richmond...
“There are no easy opponents; it’s not as if they’re rock bottom, or cut adrift in the division. You can win two games on the bounce and you’ll fly up the division; there are just no easy games to be honest with you.
“We’re talking about an experienced squad that are probably all match fit now, Gary [McCann]’s had them for a while now. I know they didn’t have the greatest start to the season, but they’ve definitely picked up over the last six weeks.
“There’s no doubt they’re confident, and obviously we’re confident with our form and how we’ve been playing. Our performances have still been strong, so we’ve just to adhere to the standards we set ourselves, and just keep taking it one game at a time. We’re looking forward to it.”
On the recent match postponements giving players a chance to rest and recover...
“Yes, if you look at the last selection [against Dorking Wanderers] when we selected the team, we had no Billy Clifford, no [Jacob] Mendy, [Michael] Phillips was out and Jack Jebb is now in the group so there are four players straight away.
“We’re hoping Ross [Lafayette] can get through training [on Thursday], that could be five players available for selection this Saturday, five big players for the team.
“It’s been a nice bit of luck with a couple of games being postponed. Sometimes, after such a hectic schedule, where you go through July [pre-season]; then you go through two games a week throughout August, then September, then October where we had four FA Cup games.
“Sometimes it’s nice to give the body a little break. We train hard, we trained hard last night [Tuesday] with a practice game and we did some running.
“I think the boys will be chomping at the bit. We’re going to go back into a really hectic schedule now so a little breather helps and have a little refresh as well.
“The competitiveness within the group last night [Tuesday] at training was excellent. It’s something we judge, we definitely judge training. We’re just looking forward to it and we can’t wait to get back on the pitch.”
On the players missing the match day feeling...
“Yes, we’re all excited by it. Obviously there’s nothing we could do Saturday with the floodlight failure. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about that when the source of the problem was outside the ground.
“We went for the pitch inspection [at Billericay] to just check it out [on Tuesday] and say hello to everybody as I worked there before, but the pitch was in a bad place; there’s no way it could’ve been played.
“The boys are obviously looking forward to Saturday. We’ve been looking forward to the last two games, and we haven’t managed to get them on. That’s just the way it is, there’s nothing we can do about that. So, we don’t really think about it, we just move onto the next game, and full focus is on Hampton on Saturday.”