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Preview: Wealdstone

Temperatures soar as the Fleet hope to rise in tandem with a battle at Wealdstone up next. The reds will seek to build on Saturday’s emphatic 4-1 victory against York City and earn back-to-back victories for the first time in 2023/24.

Following last week’s win, Dennis Kutrieb discussed the different challenges and preparations the team needed to consider when facing each opponent: “Wealdstone will be a completely different challenge, compared to York,” he said. “We have to prepare for every team differently and individually because they have enough quality where they can hurt you if you are not ready. We will need to be switched on and make sure we put in a good performance so we have another chance to get the three points.”

Form Guide

The Fleet currently sit fifth in the National League whilst Wealdstone sit in 14th, although there is only a four-point gap between the two. The visitors will be without the League’s top goalscorer in Dominic Poleon, who has been called up for international duties with Saint Lucia once more – but the goals for the Fleet arrive from all areas on the pitch with five other players having made the scoresheet alongside Poleon – Luke O’Neill, Franklin Domi, Craig Tanner, Omari Sterling-James and Greg Cundle.

Wealdstone started the campaign brightly, securing two wins and two draws in the opening four matches, but since their defeat to Aldershot at the end of August, they have suffered three reverses on the bounce. Wealdstone’s last outing was the long trip to Hartlepool where they fell short of a win. 

Head to head

The Fleet’s last trip to Wealdstone saw all three points achieved back in 2017, a 4-2 victory in the National League South. Danny Kedwell was one of four names on the scoresheet that day. In the reverse fixture, the Fleet once again claimed victory to secure the double over Wealdstone. Fleet have won all three trips to Grosvenor Vale since Wealdstone moved into that ground. This is the first meeting between the pair in non-league’s top division since 1980.

Kedwell and Godden on a previous visit to Grosvenor Vale

Who’s who

Jed Ward is likely to stand between the posts on Saturday. The 20-year-old keeper is on loan from Bristol Rovers and had a similar arrangement at Hungerford Town last season. At the back and leading the line as captain is Jack Cook, who has spent two seasons at the club following a move from Woking in 2021. Making 95 appearances for the NW London side, he will hope to continue to rack up the numbers as his contract expires at the end of the season. Battling it out in the midfield is Ashley Charles who has made over 100 appearances since joining in 2019. Though he went out on loan to Concord Rangers in the 2020/21 season, he has since been a huge part of the Wealdstone squad. Up front is the leading goalscorer this season, Tahvon Campbell. On loan from Rochdale, Campbell has landed on the scoresheet three times this season in just four appearances. 

Club connections 

Billy Clifford (pictured, top) returns to the club where he won another National League South title medal in 2019/20. Experienced midfielder Max Kretzschmar played with Toby Edser at Woking while the Stones also have Luke Dreher in their squad, who played a Kent Senior Cup game for the Fleet last season while on trial.

The manager 

In the dugout is 42-year-old Stuart Maynard who has managed Wealdstone since 2021, when he took over as caretaker manager from Dean Brennan (now at Barnet). Though his management experience is limited having been Brennan’s assistant for many years, he has made a number of appearances as a player in the fifth and sixth tiers. His most notable club was Aylesbury United, where he made 76 appearances across two spells at the club. 

Ticket info

To purchase a matchday ticket in advance visit Wealdstone’s ticketing site here. All girls aged 18 and under gain FREE admission to this match as part of Wealdstone’s affiliation with HerGameToo. Tickets are available on match days, either via the Ticket Office outside the turnstiles or on the gates themselves, but are cheaper online.

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