MAYNARD | “We want to win this for everyone associated with the club”
Wealdstone welcome fierce rivals Barnet back to Grosvenor Vale this Saturday as the BT Sport cameras roll into town and with a bumper crowd expected, Stones boss Stuart Maynard has got his full attention on getting the three points on derby day.
The Stones have boasted a really positive home run of form with just two defeats in the last 12 games and Maynard believes the fans will create more of the same when it comes to atmosphere on derby day.
"It's not just down to this one game as the fans have been excellent all season and we know they will do their bit in making it a hostile environment for every team that comes here.
"We know what this game means to everyone at the club from Rory the chairman, to the fans, to the countless volunteers that work here, we want to win this game for all of them."
With plenty of factors at stake outside of the traditional local derby vibe, Maynard thinks it's crucial that on the pitch his players avoid getting caught up in the emotion of the fixture.
"I think in games of this magnitude it's important that we do keep a cool head on the pitch as it gives you the best possible chance of winning but to be honest we've prepared for this game like we do for any other match."
After a run of one defeat in 17 games, the Bees league form stuttered recently with defeats to Notts County, Torquay United and Altrincham in February, but the visitors have recently made the FA Trophy semi-final. But Maynard refused to attribute their slump in form to that Trophy run.
"This league is just relentless, you need your best players available all the time or you'll get beat, we've had a period with that this season and so have they."
Fifth-placed Barnet have significantly improved this season under former Stones boss Dean Brennan and are a far-cry from his side that Wealdstone took six points off of last season.
Maynard picked out the addition of Nicke Kabamba to the Bees side as a factor in their upturn, a player both he and Brennan had during their time at Hemel Hempstead Town. "They've obviously added some real quality to their side this year and really invested in their side, we had Kabamba with us at Hemel and he's a top quality forward and they've added to that firepower with Idris Kanu and the lad Harry Smith on loan from Leyton Orient, coupled by some really experienced National League additions to their side. But we just focus on ourselves and our strengths rather than worry about what we think they might bring here."
But the Stones have also added to their ownsquad this month as Maynard's side chase down a play-off spot in this crucial run-in of games. "We've added two really good players to our side this week, Charles [Clayden] the fans obviously know very well from last season and we've honestly been trying to get him back all year and Lewis [Simper] has already got bags of EFL experience for someone of that age, it's been really important to add to the squad with Ashley Charles and Alex Dyer away on international duty as they will be two key players missing."
Charles and Dyer are both on CONCACAF Nations League duty for the next week with Grenada and Montserrat and the club also had keeper Sam Howes play and keep a clean sheet in England 'C's 1-0 win over Wales 'C' at Altrincham this week.
"It definitely shows how far we've come as a club, it's great for them two and obviously Sam who got 90 minutes and a clean sheet with England 'C' in the week, it's great their getting noticed but it's down to the collective, the lads have been unbelievable this season even the ones who weren't in the squad at times, they've been patient and hungry and it's down to the type of player we want to attract here.
"Myself, Matty, Craig and the rest of the management team are very careful in bringing in the right type of player to the club."
With players in his part-time squad going above and beyond in their game preparation every week, it's no surprise or accident to Maynard that his squad are challenging to do what is the unthinkable to outsiders and guide the Stones to a play-off position come the end of April.
"It's been massive, they're professionals and the work they put in outside of the time we get with them is why we are where we are, but that's not just the players that's across the board as a football club.
"Every match we've gone into should be difficult because of what we are but for those reasons we punch well above our weight because of everybody's desire of wanting to do better."