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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of Wealdstone’s return to National League South action against Tonbridge Angels on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts before the visit of the Angels.

Squad update…

“We’ll know more tonight [Thursday], but there are a few [players] that are struggling. We may possibly have a couple out [for Saturday] who felt a bit stiff yesterday [Wednesday] and we’ll just have to assess their injuries with the physio team tonight.

“Nick [Arnold] has been on the bench for both the [FA] Cup games and is out for Saturday [against Tonbridge Angels]. He has a hamstring strain but hopefully he’s not out for too long.

“Ryan [Sellers] is doing more out on the grass [at training], he hasn’t joined in a full session yet though.

“Shepp [Jake Sheppard] was thrown in the deep-end [on Tuesday], it wasn’t ideally what we wanted to do with him because he only had one full training session. We needed to get a full-back onto the pitch [on Tuesday] after the sending off.

“Kav [Kavan Cotter] will hopefully train tonight, that will be his first session in a long time so we’ll have to build-up their minutes. We do have some midweek county cup games coming up so hopefully them lads back by playing those games, getting some minutes and getting fully fit again.”

On a potential appeal of Jacob Mendy’s red card against Maidenhead…

“I’ve looked at it, personally there’s no doubt in my mind [that] it’s never a red card. I didn’t think at the time it was a red card either. I’m not sure if we’ll appeal or not just yet, I’ll make a decision in the next few hours whether we’ll do it or not. When you watch the top level with VAR, it’s a farce [and] it protects the referees.

“We reacted well to conceding [in the first half] and I was proud of us in the second half, we kept going and kept pressing the ball. Our squad depth may have got caught out in the attack during the [Maidenhead] game. We’ve done well with the group of players [that] we have, we wish Maidenhead well in the next round.”

On Tonbridge Angels…

“They’ve got pace in the wide areas, a good balance on the left and good pace on the right-hand side. They also have pace in midfield and their form’s picked up, they were unlucky to lose last week against Chelmsford with the way that game worked out. They beat Braintree five-one two weeks ago and we know how good they [Braintree] are [and] they [Tonbridge Angels] have been in and competing in their last half-a-dozen games and have given themselves an opportunity to win.

“It’s going to be a tough game, we’re coming in off-the-back of a couple of gruelling games and they are coming in off-the-back of conceding two goals in injury-time. We’re going to look to bounce back and we’ll approach this game how we’ll approach every game, we’ll try and get ourselves on the front-foot, we’ll show the same respect we do to every opposition and hopefully our supporters can drive us forward and produce a positive atmosphere in the ground.

“We’re going to go and try to gain three points because this is what it’s all about. Cup runs are nice but it’s all about success in the league campaign, if you ask any top manager, they’ll say they want to win the [league] title. This is the bread and butter, we’re looking forward to it.”

On Tonbridge’s improvement in performances in recent weeks…

“They’ve had a better month [in October] and had a bit of a clear-out [of players], they’ve got their strongest side now and sometimes it’s better when the players know that they’re going to play instead of chopping-and-changing [their line-up]. They probably have more continuity within their selection and have worked their socks off to get into this position by getting promoted through the super play-offs.

“They’ll be used to winning, they’ve obviously had a bad August and September but they’ve picked up more in October and will have a bit more confidence because they beat Braintree five-one and I know a lot of players, they have good players. There are no easy games within this division, what’s important is we show that we’re still a good side and there’s no panic from us.

“We’ll lose matches, that’s a guarantee but I have no issue with the way we’ve lost. I said the same against Dulwich [Hamlet] and Havant [& Waterlooville] and I have no issue with that. If there was more experience in our squad then I could have a go at them, but I can’t have a go at this group [because] they work their socks off. The attitude on Tuesday was unbelievable and there’s no doubt the players will show the same application and attitude this weekend.

“Due to the odd couple of injuries, other lads [in the squad] will get their opportunity [and] they have to step-up the plate if they want to be part of the success of this football team.”

On the warm response from supporters after defeat on Tuesday…

“It keeps the confidence in the group that our supporters can see that the players work hard. I remember two minutes before full-time, Michael Phillips chased them back into the corner and made a slide tackle. Realistically I would think ‘save ourselves, the game is gone’ but he [Michael Phillips] is still doing it because that’s the attitude we have within the group. Our supporters appreciate that.

“The players know that the supporters have their back, I think that’s so important for the players and the players will want to re-pay them by keeping that same attitude and work rate. If we do that and keep that togetherness, that’s how you’ll get success. My team-talk on Saturday will be very simple, get after the opposition, go press that ball and get it back as quick as you can and do what you’re good at.

“You just have to get the best out of people, we’ve got some really good lads at the football club and the supporters are helping to get the best out of the players.”


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