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  • Writer's pictureChris Woods

Maynard predicting a technical opening day

Wealdstone boss Stuart Maynard prepares for his third full season in the Stones hotseat as his side host a York City side that have spent big over the summer.

Last season the Stones took six points off the Minstermen with a last minute winner from Jack Cook snatching the three points in Yorkshire followed by a comfortable 3-1 victory for the Stones at Grosvenor Vale in the second half of the season.

But Maynard thinks his York colleague Michael Morton has strengthened in key areas ahead of the new season, "On York: "They've probably signed two of the best centre halves in the league in [Tyler] Cordner and [Callum] Howe.

"They're very aggressive in both boxes, they'll be a threat from set pieces, we've had them watched and their philosophy has changed slightly from last season, they really get the ball down and play now, I'm predicting a really technical game."

Wealdstone's results were mixed over pre-season with three wins, three defeats and a draw but Maynard feels his side really tested themselves against the calibre of opposition hosted this summer with EFL clubs MK Dons, Charlton Athletic, Wycombe Wanderers and AFC Wimbledon all facing the Stones.

"We've played against a really good level of opposition this pre-season, that press us with real intensity and we've played through that press a lot of times although lacking a little bit of end product, but I thought as pre-season went on we got better at that."

With a new season comes new additions and Tahvon Campbell, Jed Ward and Sean Adarkwa all looking to feature.

"I've been really impressed with the lads they've all settled in well, we've got a good group of lads here that are not hard to fit in with, you can find in football sometimes you get some prickly groups and that can be hard for new players to settle. But they've settled well and we've got a group of lads that are really in it together."

Preparations have been helped by the fact that the Stones retained 16 members of last season's squad that guided the club to their highest league finish in 37 years and Maynard feels that has also helped his new signings settle.

"We've retained 16 players that know our structure and know our patterns of play and I think the new players have fitted in really well. When we recruit we look to see if players have the attributes that fit in to the way we want to play and learn the structure so that when someone's on the ball they know where they've got to be.

"We knew if we kept the 16 that we did that we would know our goals and ambitions for the new season. We've set a points target for the lads and if we do hit it then we'll be very successful."

One new signing not in contention is Luke Dreher who broke his arm in the final pre-season friendly at home to AFC Wimbledon and Maynard gave a full update on the injured members of his squad.

"We've picked up a couple of injuries over pre-season to key players that has really cost them game time which was the one negative. Luke's out for eight to ten weeks, and he'll be the most frustrated lad after coming in and doing well and then get a freak injury like that.

"Mason [Barrett] and Dom [Hutchinson] are probably both about a week away. Mase is back in the group now and we'll build him up whilst Dom is probably a week or two away from that."

With big money spent at the top of the division last term, the gaffer believes that money has been spread around the division more this time out. "Teams have spent more than they thought they would because there's a real belief this season with Wrexham and Notts County promoted that you can actually get out of the league," said Maynard.

"So I think it'll be tougher at the bottom a lot of teams from the bottom half last year have recruited really well. For the football club and us as a management team first and foremost we've got to stay in the league and getting to that 50 point mark as quick as we can."

Maynard spoke with Libby McElhinney ahead of the brand new season and you can watch the full interview HERE.

Tickets for Saturday's opening fixture can also be purchased online HERE, we encourage fans to buy online in advance as prices will increase to matchday prices once the turnstiles open an hour before kick off.


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