Preview - Dartford (H) - Saturday 3rd August
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Wealdstone will open their 2019/20 National League South campaign on Saturday afternoon as Dean Brennan’s Stones host Dartford at The Vale.
The new-look Stones have made 16 signings since Brennan's appointment in May; after a pre-season filled with strong performances, the new squad have melded well ahead of the opening fixture.
New signings in midfield include Connor Smith and Billy Clifford, who have played alongside each other for most of pre-season and will likely start with Danny Green in-front of the duo.
“People can probably see over the last few weeks how the team is looking to shape up”, explained Brennan ahead of Saturday’s game.
Dartford have also secured 13 new signings in the summer, as Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle attempt to improve on their 10th place finish last season.
Brennan on Flanagan and Coyle: “I know [Jamie] Coyle and [Adam] Flanagan really well from managing against them and they are a good management team, they want to improve on what they did last season.”
Wealdstone beat the Darts to the final play-off place at the end of last season. The Stones beat Hemel Hempstead on the final day while Dartford lost away at Oxford and missed out on seventh spot.
With Brennan now at the helm, the Irish manager is aiming for promotion this season and Dartford will be a good test of promotion credentials early on.
“They [Dartford] finished second two years ago” said Brennan, “it’s a big football club within the division.”
Dartford have a strong record at Grosvenor Vale, they have not lost in Ruislip since 2015. Their largely physical squad has caused many Wealdstone sides problems in previous seasons.
Wealdstone had a good record against Dartford last season. The Stones picked up four points from a possible six, including an impressive 3-0 win at Princes Park early last season.
The Darts will be without one of their key new signings, Darren McQueen, who dislocated his shoulder in their final pre-season friendly last weekend.
Flanagan and Coyle made two last-minute signings before tomorrow’s fixture, adding strikers Norman Wabo, previously of Southend United, and Adam Cunnington to the squad.
Wabo has had multiple National League loans in the previous two seasons at Ebbsfleet United, Maidstone United and Braintree. Both forwards will be available for selection on Saturday.
Wealdstone ‘keeper Jonathan North remains a doubt for Saturday’s game having picked up a swollen ankle against Hayes & Yeading United last month.
New striker Dejon Noel-Williams did not feature in training this week and will be out against Dartford as he recovers from a suspected spider bite which has kept him hospital-bound.
Stones midfielder Kavan Cotter featured in a full training session on Thursday evening as he recovers from injury but is unlikely to feature on Saturday.
Dean Brennan will be looking for a good start in-front of home support, will the Stones overcome the Darts on the opening day?
Preview by Dec O'Reilly
Full quotes from Dean Brennan HERE
Full match details HERE