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Dean Brennan's Pre-Match Thoughts

Ahead of a tough away trip to Welling United for Wealdstone in the National League South on Saturday afternoon, Dec O’Reilly spoke to Dean Brennan to gather the manager’s thoughts ahead of our visit to Park View Road.

Squad update…

“No [new] injuries. Connor [Smith] and Phil [Roberts] obviously got through the last game from the bench which is a good bonus for the team.

“It’s just [Ryan] Sellers really, we’re still waiting for the PFA to get us a scan.”

On Welling United…

“Experienced side [with an] experienced management team. The management team have been promoted from this division before with Bromley, [Mark] Goldberg got the best experience in his coaching staff.

“They’ve got heavyweights in the top-end in Bradley Goldberg and Adam Coombes, who I know pretty well from Billericay. They have good experience defensively in Rob Swaine and [Joe] Anderson, the left-back who also won the division with Bromley.

“They will be no pushovers, it will be a really tough game. For me it’s a fifty-fifty game. They went to Havant [& Waterlooville] and drew in the first game of the season. They were very unlikely to lose to Weymouth last week with a man sent off and played sixty-five [or] seventy minutes with ten-men and that’s difficult because Weymouth make the pitch so big.

“They’re so many good sides in the division, it’s probably the toughest the division has ever been or since I’ve been in it anyway after six seasons in it as a manager.

“Like any game in this division, this will be a tough game. First ten minutes will be crucial, if you go one-nil down it will be hard to come back, Welling on their day can beat anybody and I fully expect them to be in the top seven at the end of the season.”

On continuing with our strong momentum…

“It’s important when we win games, we kept a clean sheet on Saturday [against Oxford City] which I thought was very important, we spoke about that at half-time that if we keep it at zero and nil-nil then we had done our job. The aim always is to get clean sheets, we have to just keep playing how we’re playing on the front foot. Our fitness stats are excellent with the speed within our team, we just have to keep working as hard as we can.

“We know Saturday will be a challenge but we’re looking forward to it, Welling are a good club with good success over the last six years, including getting to the play-off final last year. Jamie Day won the league with them six years ago now.”

On the different characteristics the squad has shown already this season…

“I think we just play the scenario that’s put in-front of us. The team grows itself, it creates a character. Even when we lost at Dulwich, the attitude of our players have been spot on and our work ethic was excellent. I think we just have to stick to that, all we can take care of is right now.

“We’ll train tomorrow [Thursday], we’ll train hard with a good seventy minute session [at a] good tempo and quality within that. The boys that aren’t in the team have got to push the lads that are in the team so when they get their opportunity, they’re sharp [and] they’re fit.

“Phil Roberts came on the other day [Saturday] and made a good impact on the game. He nearly scored two fantastic goals and it shows the calibre of quality we have in our squad. At some stage, other players will have to step up to the mark and they will have their time in the limelight.

“We’ve got to keep pushing each other, keep striving and pushing each other forward. Our supporters again drove us forward, at one stage we cleared the ball off the line and Aston [Oxborough] had to make an unbelievable save. When questions were asked, the group came up with the answers.

“We’re learning from that to keep improving, to sustain attacks and to make sure they don’t get those half opportunities. We’re always trying to reach perfection with our performance so I know the players are harsh on themselves but it’s my job to make sure our guard is up at all times. We’re striving to keep improving.”

On the impact training makes on the starting line-up…

“We judge a lot of it on training, the team on the first game of the season is based completely on training. Training is important to us, we want good habits around the place and we train how we play [because] we’ve always been like that.

“Some weeks you need managing, some weeks other players need a little less and when someone has a knock we understand and we’ve learnt that over the years. Improving on that has preserved the players’ bodies, everyone’s a little bit different.

“When we train we do it at the right intensity to how we play. We want the lads to push each other in training and when Phil Roberts has a good attempt to score from the half-way line, you can’t ignore that ability. If he keeps working hard and gets himself fitter with our help, he’ll be pushing for a place. That’s the healthy competition we want.”

On having one game a week…

“We are playing well and controlling games well at the moment, sometimes you want the games to keep on coming because we’ll gain more points. We’ve been the better side within all ten games, some games we were three goals better but games like Weymouth we were probably one goal better.

“Our substitutions have made big impacts like [Jacob] Mendy. Connor [Smith] came out the team through injury and everyone has stepped up, Billy [Clifford] dropped into a deeper role and done really well within that role. Michee [Efete] can do a job across the back-line and midfield and he’s done a great job at left-back.

“In this business, if you drop your guard and don’t keep that intensity then you’ll be picking your teeth up off the floor. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen to us and we keep driving forward. Everyone at the club need to keep striving with what we want to achieve this year and we just keep maintaining that one game and one session at a time mentality attitude.”


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