PREVIEW | "We know how much this one means to the fans"
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Stuart Maynard will leave his remodelled squad in no doubt as to the significance of the derby with Barnet on Saturday, but the manager will also stress how his side need to play the game rather than the occasion.
The Bees, the Stones' local rivals, visit The Vale on Saturday in front of what is likely to be a crowd of more than 2,000, with the return of ex-manager Dean Brennan adding a further subplot to the tasty National League fixture. It will be the first instalment of the encounter to be played out in front of paying punters since the classic matches in the 1980s.
"We know how much this one means to the fans," said Maynard. "We beat them 5-1 in a behind-closed doors game last season, but fans have now got the opportunity to come to The Vale and create one of those special atmospheres. It will be great to see The Vale packed. I think the most we've had here is 2,500 so it will be unbelievable if we better that."
Maynard has reshaped the playing staff during the summer and many of his starting XI will not have played in the thumping win against the Bees in April. They will be educated at training on Thursday night and in the final words before kick-off.
"We've had a couple of weeks to prepare and we've told them what it means to the fans," said Maynard. "The lads have been great this season and have left everything on the pitch. We want them to do the same again on Saturday and give the fans something to be proud of. I know the lads will give everything."
The fixture pits 19th against 14th in the table and yet only two points separates the two sides.
"We've watched them and they like to play direct and on the counter," said the manager. "They'll come here, sit it and try to frustrate us as we are a possession-based team. It will be that type of game and we have to be patient. We've got to be discplined, stay calm and stick to what we are good at. We need to stick to the gameplan and then we'll have a good chance. It's just another three points at stake when you strip everything else away."