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  • Writer's pictureChris Woods

PREVIEW | "It will be a good spectacle"

Wealdstone get back into National League action tomorrow when fifth-placed FC Halifax Town visit Grosvenor Vale for a 3pm kick off and Manager Stuart Maynard expects the two styles of play to create an entertaining game for the home and away supporters.

Both teams go into this fixture coming off the back of two morale-crushing defeats last Saturday, with a battling ten-man Wealdstone losing out to a last minute Bromley goal in a 3-2 loss in south-east London, whilst the Shaymen missed a huge opportunity to go into the Third Round of the FA Cup in a 2-0 defeat away to National League North side Kidderminster Harriers in a match where they were clear favourites to progress.

"They'll be disappointed to go out with the thoughts of getting to the Third Round but they will be looking to bounce back. They're a team flying high in the league and they'll want to get back to winning ways, just the same as us who are looking to bounce back from Bromley now and get back to winning ways, too. It'll be a really good footballing game on Saturday, they'll come and press us high and it'll be a good spectacle.

"They're a very attack-minded team, they've got lots of pace out wide in Jordan Slew and Jack Vale and they've got Billy Waters up front who they signed from Torquay in the summer who is among the top scorers in the league."

The Stones will be without a number of players for this weekend's match although the Stones boss provided an update on Connor Stevens, who has been out of action since the 2-1 defeat to Eastleigh in October and also on new signing David Sesay who picked up an injury whilst on international duty for Sierra Leone. Stones fans have yet to see the former-Barnet winger in action since his signing two weeks ago.

"David is a couple of weeks away, we knew that when we were signing him that his injury is what it is and it would take time for him to get fit and back playing. We just want to make sure he is 100%. We don't want to rush him back as he's going to be a really key player for us and the squad in the second half of the season.

"Connor Stevens is back and has trained fully in the last week and a half, he's had no reaction [to his previous injury], he's looking sharp and he's excited to get back. He's had a bit of a nightmare couple of seasons and I've said in previous interviews he's a big player for us; he's a leader and he will be key.

"We've got a few injuries at the minute but we want to make sure that we get everyone right so that they potentially don't break down again. Connor is one of those we just want to get right, so we're going to manage his minutes as we go and hopefully we can get him back out on the field on a regular basis as soon as possible."

The Stones have had some loan activity this week, with Zach Dronfield returning on loan to Hampton & Richmond Borough for a month to gain some more minutes, whilst Craig Fasanmade returns from his loan spell at Hemel Hempstead Town which has by all-means been a success as the forward returns with three goals in five appearances plus two appearances in the Vanarama National League South Team of the Week for his displays at the Tudors. He goes straight into Maynard's squad tomorrow.

"Craig did really well at Hemel. When we send players out on loan it is because they need the game time, it's the same with Zach right now who's gone back out. Craig went over there, he scored three goals in five starts, we know what he can do, he just lacked a bit of match sharpness when he was with us just through coming out the team and we're looking forward to having him back with us with the pace he has to run in behind."

George Wickens' red card in Saturday's defeat to Bromley means the young Fulham loanee will now miss the next three matches between the sticks, although the Stones boss is confident that the club will have a loan keeper in, in time for the visit of Halifax tomorrow.

Tomorrow's match will also see the club remember former player Marvin Morgan who sadly passed away this week aged just 38. There will be a minutes applause prior to the game in memory of Marvin who started out his successful playing career with the Stones, graduating from the club's newly formed PASE Academy into the first team where he made 187 appearances, scoring 56 times between 2000 and 2004 before returning for a brief spell again in early-2016, adding another eight games and one goal to his Wealdstone tally.

Marvin's breakthrough coincided with Maynard's playing spell with the Stones under Gordon Bartlett in 2000 and he remembers a young Marvin fondly, "Marvin was a young lad coming into the group under Gordon and when he came in you could tell he had a future in football. He was a good size, he had a lovely left foot and had loads of potential back then which he obviously fulfilled and had a good career.

"But overall and most importantly he was a great lad, he was one of those when he walked into a room his smile and personality would light the room up and everyone warmed to him, it was just so sad to hear that news and our thoughts go out to his family. It's a tough one to lose someone who was such a good guy. Football is a small community and every club he went to he had the same affect on everyone within those football clubs."


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