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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s next test in the National League South against Oxford City on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of the Hoops’ visit to The Vale.

Squad update…

“They [Jacob Mendy and Ross Lafayette] are ok, just impact injuries. There were quite tired legs as well because we’ve played nine games in thirty-one days so it was just a couple of knocks, but they’re like brand new.

“Connor Smith will train tonight [Thursday] and if he comes through tonight then he will be available for selection on Saturday.

“[Ryan] Sellers just needs a scan really. We’re trying to sort that out through the PFA, we don’t have access to scans at the football club which would diagnose the problem a lot earlier. There’s not much more we can say at the moment.”

On Connor Smith…

“He’s reliable, you won’t see Connor go about his business. In the first game of the season when we played Dartford, he made two fantastic blocks in the box at one-all at a key time [in the game].

“He’s a good age at twenty-six and has played in the [Football] League for most of his career, he makes sacrifices for the team and is a real team player.

“We have a lot of flair in our team at the minute and we know Connor’s a key player for us, there’s no doubt about it. The sooner we get him back, the better.”

On Oxford City…

“Like I said already on Tuesday [post-match at St. Albans], they are a very technical side with good ability within their team. They are a young side but are very technical who are used to playing on their 3G pitch.

“They’ve got pace at the top of the pitch, [Zac] McEachran has got a lot of quality, has good vision and is a good dribbler. He’s a key player for them with a lot of skill.

“Their formation that they play is a danger one, they are a dangerous opponent. They come to us with a free game but we are looking for it, we are enjoying the position we are it, we just need to play with the same intensity that we have been.”

On the pressures of facing a team with a free game…

“I wouldn’t call it pressure, we’ve created the position we’re in. We’ve all created it as a football club, our supporters, our chairman, all the staff, the players, everyone has created it and we’re all in it together. We have to enjoy it, the same way the supporters are enjoying it, we’re enjoying it as a management team and as players, it’s exciting.

“It’s not many times where you get to be top of the table, we’ve been at the top for three weeks but it’s the points total and points per game is what we’re about and what we look at in our changing room.

“Our running stats have been phenomenal, our sprint stats have been outstanding. They are the standards they set ourselves and we’ve got to keep to them before we even make a pass or anything, we have to make sure our sprint stats stay where they are.”

On the help of supporters…

“The one thing, I guarantee it, [at some point] we will lose games of football, that’s going to happen [but] it’s how we react to losing a game of football and how we continue to play to our standards that we set ourselves.

“The players have to keep pushing each other and I have to keep pushing the players, I have to keep demanding from them. When you’re creating a winning mentality in this type of environment, that’s the most important thing to have personalities within our group.

“Even our supporters when we are having a tough time, we’re going to need them. We had a tough time at Weymouth and got brought back to three-all, the fans helped get us over the line. We’ve had a tough time in the last eight or nine minutes of the last two games and the supporters drove us forward again.

“Without the support we had at St. Albans and Weymouth, sacrificing money and the crazy fee to get into St. Albans, we don’t get over the line.

“What was really good against Maidstone and St. Albans is when they scored late and got it back to one goal behind, no one has had another chance [to score] against us. That shows good character, that shows good togetherness and I believe our supporters are really driving us forward with that.

“They are singing the players names, singing the group’s name and I think that’s very important, it shows togetherness. That’s us as a football club creating the winning mentality, not just the management teams, not just the players, but the supporters too.”

On our perfect home record…

“I don’t look at it, I just look at the next game. Whether we are home or away, I’m not looking to Welling, the FA Cup game or Havant [& Waterlooville] which are all soon, I’m just looking at Oxford and how we can prepare for Saturday.

“Our players are enjoying working hard for our football club. The biggest thing is our work ethic, our hard work. Our sprint stats, our distance covered has been phenomenal and that’s what’s got us into the position we are [top of the league].

“I believe in all these players, every single one of them. They got ability, but without reliability they will not be a good team. The players we have are reliable and their attitude to work has been spot on and that’s how we’ve got to keep it.”

On team selection…

“There’s been some good patience in team selection, [Jacob] Mendy didn’t start the season it was Sanchez [Watt] who did because of Sanchez’s dead leg against Dulwich [Hamlet]. He’s scored five goals since coming in and has got himself into the team. Dennon [Lewis] missed pre-season because he took an opportunity to earn some money and be on the tele so fair play to him, he’s come back and been outstanding.

“Connor [Smith] started in midfield and [Danny] Green was on the right which is nice flexibility. I know Phil Roberts is licking his lips at the chances we’re creating, Sanchez [Watt] is the same. Connor [Smith] will be sitting in the stand think how he will get back in [the starting 11].

“All they have to do is work their socks off and it’s funny how football works at times. We’re going to need all the players and need the whole group, they’ll have their turn in the limelight. We won’t take our foot off the gas or look at the league table, the lads know where we want to end up with our points total and it’s a marathon. We’ve come through the start of the race quite well, now we’re going into the middle stage of the race over the next few months [and] let’s see how we get on.”


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