MAYNARD | "Barker can play at a very high level"
Today's announcement of Wealdstone's friendly at home to League One side Charlton Athletic and the recent signing of former Charlton loanee Charlie Barker, links between the two clubs continue to grow.
Barker's signing followed on from two successful loan spells at the Stones. Positive loan spells that also helped secure the permanent signing of Charles Clayden back in March and strengthen the first team prospects of Charlton's Aaron Henry and Deji Elerewe, players who both enjoyed their brief period at Grosvenor Vale.
Tim Parks caught up with manager Stuart Maynard to talk about the Stones link with the Addicks after the announcement of the friendly and the latest addition to his squad.
Following on from his loan spell with the Stones last season, Maynard was very pleased to secure the new number three on a permanent basis.
“We believe he’s a top player. He’s mature for his age and if you look at the amount of games that he’s clocked up now in men’s football for such a young lad he’s only going to get better so we believe that he’s one for the future that potentially can play at a very high level.”
“There’s been a lot of league interest for him and he’s chosen to come back to us, he believes in what we’re doing here, he believes in the group that we’ve got so its exciting times for him and us as a football club.”
The news furthers the link between the Stones and League One club, but the Stones boss praised the links with other clubs as he will once again look to the loan market to strengthen his squad this season.
“We’ve got very good links with Charlton and it’s another place that we will look to this season to explore and potentially loan players again.
“We’ve got a lot of good contacts with a lot of good pro clubs, it’s whether the players that they’ve got available at the time fit into what we’re doing.”
Looking ahead to pre-season and the quantity and quality retained in the squad over the summer, Maynard explained: “We’ve got a very good pre-season, a competitive pre-season and were looking forward to it.
“We’re really happy with retaining 16 players this summer, it’s incredible for a club like us, in the league that were in, the level of player that we’ve retained.
“We’re excited now that we can get working with the group from day one, it means that we get a little bit ahead in our process which is good and its brilliant and the new lads that come in they come into a group that’s already together and ready to go.”
The Stones begin our pre-season schedule with a trip away to local side Rayners Lane on Saturday 8th July at 3pm.
League Two side Milton Keynes Dons then visit The Vale on the following Tuesday on 11th July for our first home game of the season at 7:45pm. Tickets are available online for this game HERE.
Words by Chloe Logan