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Howes returns following England boost

Sam Howes is relishing a return in the Wealdstone net after spending the week on England 'C' duty, where he kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Wales 'C'.

And he's straight back into the thick of it as Wealdstone's local rivals Barnet visit in front of the BT Sport cameras at Grosvenor Vale, with a bumper crowd expected on Non-League Day.

"It's been reiterated to us this week not to overplay the occasion." The keeper is keen that the side use any success from this game as a springboard into the crucial run in of games.

"Yes this is a big game but we have seven big games following that to finish the season as strongly and in the highest position possible.

"A win for us would be a massive boost going into those last seven matches. We know what they're about as a club, their manager was here before and we know that they are a very good side."

Three straight wins at the start of March were followed by two defeats, a 4-0 loss at home to Chesterfield followed by a 4-1 defeat at Scunthorpe United on the road, but with a clean sheet on England duty, that included two fantastic saves, Howes returns to Ruislip boosted by his 'C' team performance.

"It was really, really good. Obviously we've let in eight goals in the last two games at the club and as a keeper you quite rightly look at yourself after that but to go into the England game in the week and play well and keep a clean sheet, personally it gives me a big boost going into this game."

It was Barnet's Ryan De Havilland scored the winner for England over Wales in the week and Howes left the camp with admiration for his England teammates and the squad former Stones midfielder and Bees boss Paul Fairclough assembled.

"We know Ryan's a good player, he wouldn't have been selected in the week if he wasn't. It was good to see him play and the experience for the three days was positive."

The Stones added to the squad ahead of the National League deadline day on Thursday with Lewis Simper joining on loan from Cambridge United and popular winger Charles Clayden joining permanently from Charlton Athletic.

And they're a pair Howes knows well, and he believes they will be a lift to the squad for the crucial run in of games. "It's been a massive boost, I know Simps is a great player having played against him when he was at Concord Rangers and we obviously know how good Clayds is from last season."

Pic: Ben Roberts


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