Maynard insists injury-hit Stones will "come out the other side"
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Stuart Maynard expects his stretched Wealdstone side to "ride out the storm" and recover once he gets key players back from injury.
Mason Barrett, big summer signing Max Kretzschmar, Nathan Ferguson, Ashley Charles and Malachi Napa all missed Saturday's defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge while Deji Elerewe was suspended. The decimation of the squad meant Sam Habergham, Micah Obiero, Tarryn Allarakhia, Giovanni McGregor and Olufela Olomola arguably didn't play in their favoured or most natural positions on Saturday.
Simeon Akinolo was handed his first start ahead of schedule in his comeback from a long-term injury, as was Sam Matthews against Notts County. Charlie Barker, meanwhile, went from a sub appearance for Hemel Hempstead against Chippenham to starting against Dagenham & Redbridge while Jordy Mongoy was hastily recalled from his loan spell at Farnborough. It's all hands to the pump right now.
"When chopping and changing, especially at the back, and more importantly in midfield, where you have your whole midfield ripped out, it's tough to replace," said the manager. "And when you play players out of position at this level you aren't going to get that cohesion. It's down to us to stick together, keep working hard and come out the other side. We believe in the lads and when we get a few bodies back, we believe we will start picking up results again. We need to stick together."
The reality is that, despite the trailblazing start to the season and the subsequent dip, the Stones still find themselves in the same position, 16th, in which they finished last season, a finish that was generally and widely considered a success.
Expectations were raised following some eye-catching summer signings, an increase to the playing budget and a start to the season that saw four wins from five games, but the brutal reality of the big-spending division has hit the part-time Stones hard and shown you need to be fully equipped most weeks to compete. Maynard is adamant the Stones will come again and bounce back, but this period is hitting the manager hard.
"It's disappointing, it's devastating really," he said. "There is no-one more than myself and the management team who care and have pride in what we do. At the minute, and especially today, we are a long way away. I can't question any of the lads, they have given everything. A lot of them are playing out of position because we have injuries in key areas. We are not a club in this division that can go out and sign players of that level to replace them. It's tough, it's hard to play against teams of this level.
"We are a club that is building and we have to ride this patch out. Once we get bodies back we will be ok. It's difficult and I take responsibility for today [the defeat against Dagenham]. It's not good enough. It's nothing to do with the lads. They are giving everything for the club and playing out of position. We started [the season] really well because we had a fit squad. When you come across injuries, the bigger clubs in this division can cope because they have a bigger squad."