MAYNARD | "The pressure is on them"
Updated: Feb 13
Stuart Maynard is excited about the prospect of taking his fully-fit and buoyant squad to Barnet on Saturday for a crunch derby match that he expects to be like a cup final.
The manager is blessed with a full complement of players to choose from for the game at the Hive, which Stones head into in really good spirits after the notable win over Yeovil Town on Tuesday night.
"We've got people short of minutes, but we've got a full squad which is good," said Maynard. "We've got a healthy competition for places in the squad and there is a great buzz and atmosphere about the place. It's a great headache to have so many good players to choose from. We've had 6 or 7 out at times and the team then picks itself. But now it's down to us to pick the right 11 to go and win the game."
The blue and white army got a taste of what a fully-fit squad under Maynard and Matt Saunders can do on Tuesday night as they produced their most cohesive attacking home display of the season in the opening 45 minutes against Yeovil. Maynard knows the fans have been patient this season and have had to adjust to a style of play that has meant the Stones have not been quite as free-flowing, but that they have been competitive in just about every game against some big-hitting and big-spending opposition.
"The fans have been incredible," he said. "We took 300 to Wrexham, 300 to Chesterfield and they out-sung the home crowd of about 8,500. I think they'll make it like a home game on Saturday as I hear we've sold more than 700. We are going to need them on Saturday. It's a massive game for the fans and for everyone who has worked so hard behind the scenes over the years to help get this club to this level. It's a club to be proud of.
"We want the fans to be as loud as they normally are. The boys will give everything and leave everything on the pitch. They know how big the game is and I expect it to be like a cup final. There is a real buzz about the place and everyone is excited about the game."
The Stones enjoyed the bragging rights with a 1-0 win at The Vale in November and Maynard knows Dean Brennan will be under pressure and hungry on Saturday to settle the score and end a run of poor results.
"The pressure is on them a little bit now," said Maynard. "They have to win, especially at their place and with the facilities they have. They should be competing at the top end of this league. They've got no excuses. They have a no-excuse environment.
"They played on the break, especially with the pace in their team. These games are always tight and it's about who will be the bravest. And I don't mean the bravest by going crashing into tackles. I mean brave by getting on the ball and passing it. We've got to make sure we are competitive and switched on at set-pieces. We know their strengths and weaknesses and we are excited for the game."