Team news for "entertaining game" at Dorking Wanderers
Stuart Maynard is expecting an entertaining game at free-scoring Dorking Wanderers on Saturday as the Stones bid to put the FA Cup disappointment behind them and start converting some good performances into points.
The manager has seen his side win one of the last eight, having won four of the first five, but he and his trusty assistant Matty Saunders remain performance based and believe their evolving side will again start getting the rewards their attractive and progressive play merits in this league of extremely fine margins.
"We are massive believers in the process," said Maynard. "We firmly believe if the process and the performances are high then the results take care of themselves. We believe we deserved more than we got recently. Losses should have been draws and draws should have been wins. We are not helping ourselves by giving ourselves a mountain to climb by going behind. The first goal is so key in this league. We need to get our noses in front with that little bit of quality otherwise we are always chasing the game."
The Stones have fallen behind first in each of their last seven games. They were two down against Boreham Wood in the league and then 3-0 and 4-1 down in the cup. Even then, though, they pushed the opposition all the way.
"We should have got something from the league game as we played well," said Maynard. "The cup game was the first time in 14 we have dropped our level this season, so that's not bad for us as a part-time team to have that sort of consistency. We want to put it right at Dorking on Saturday.
"They are a very good team, a dangerous team and free scoring. They play attack-minded football and Marc [White] has done a great job. They have got good finance, a good team and I think they can go above us if they win, so it's a tough test. There are no easy games in this league. Not one. It will be an entertaining game as they are right up there with their passing stats, but the biggest thing for us is we must get back to keeping clean sheets. We prided ourselves on clean sheets last season."
Maynard will still be without Max Kretzschmar (hamstring) and Malachi Napa (ankle) for the trip to Dorking. Kretzschmar hopes to be back for the rearranged Altrincham game while Napa is going for a scan to assess the extent of the problem that has kept him out for a couple of weeks. Lewis Kinsella is back in contention after missing out last week with some neck and back stiffness. Nathan Ferguson, who missed last week due to a family bereavement, will have a late check on a calf problem. Micah Obiero is available after being cup tied.
Simeon Akinola has scored twice off the bench in successive matches, but Maynard is treating him with kid gloves.
"We have to manage Sim," said Maynard. "He was out for the best part of a year and we have to integrate him slowly. We are building him up and we will stick to the plan with him. You see when he comes on, late in games, what a goal-scorer he is, what great movement he has and how he takes advantage of teams being tired. We've been lucky to get our hands on a player of his quality so we must keep him fit and look after him. He's great about the place and great for the young lads. He's really brought into what we are doing."
* Pictures by Darren Campbell
The Stones are back at home against Notts County on Tuesday night. Tickets are selling fast for the 7.45pm kick-off so book yours in advance by clicking HERE