Preview - Farnborough (A) - Saturday 21st September
Image: Don Blandford
League leaders Wealdstone begin their FA Cup campaign this weekend in the second qualifying round against Farnborough at Cherrywood Road.
The Stones will be looking to extend their current nine-game win streak that was achieved in the National League South, with Dean Brennan’s side sitting eight points clear at the top of the league.
Dean Brennan thinks that the odds are against the Stones: “The odds are stacked against us mentally, they [Farnborough] have everything to gain”.
Farnborough will be no push-overs, Spencer Day’s team are young and will be hungry to cause a cup upset. Boro house 14th position in the BetVictor Southern Premier South after seven games.
In the previous round, Farnborough overcame Ashford United with a comfortable 3-0 victory away from home but Boro have lost their last three league games by a 2-0 score line.
Wealdstone have had an extremely strong start to the 2019/20 campaign, winning 10 of the first 11 games after a flurry of successive games during August.
That is the strongest start that the Stones have made to a National League South season in the club’s history.
This feat hasn’t been achieved at any level for Wealdstone since the 1996/97 season, when Gordon Bartlett’s Isthmian Division Three title-winning side won 13 of their opening 14 games.
With the break to cup action, Brennan doesn’t want to treat Farnborough any different to league opponents: “Playing a team away, we’ll give them the same respect as any team we’ve played.”
Brennan continued, “Some teams have beaten teams above them and some teams have lost to teams below them, we need to make sure that doesn’t happen to us.”
With a nearly full-fit squad for Wealdstone, it will be interesting if any changes are made to a starting line-up that has remained unchanged for the previous six league games.
Midfielder Connor Smith has fully recovered from injury and will be hungry for 90 minutes on Saturday, giving him a platform to return to the league line-up.
Smith made a big impact in the style the Stones were playing in the previous league game at Welling United last weekend, which allowed Wealdstone to capitalise with two goals.
Smith has not played a full match since the fixture against Chippenham back in August. He has only made two substitute appearances since the former Watford midfielder was injured against Hemel Hempstead.
Wealdstone full-back Ryan Sellers has a knee problem which will leave him out for an estimated eight weeks. Michee Efete will likely start Saturday’s game but Brennan may look to bring in cover at left-back.
Will Farnborough cause an early cup upset or will Wealdstone continue their dominant winning run?
Preview by Dec O'Reilly
Full quotes from Dean Brennan HERE
Full match details HERE