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PREVIEW: Chesterfield vs Wealdstone


The Spireites are set to welcome a bumper crowd to the Technique Stadium on Saturday when James Rowe’s side takes on Wealdstone in the National League.


For the first time in 543 days, the Technique will be able to host both home and away fans for a league fixture.

 

The Opposition


Years Formed: 1899

Nickname: The Stones/The Royals

Stadium: Grosvenor Vale

Capacity: 4,085

Last Season Finish: 19th in the National League


Wealdstone started their first National League season in 32 years in fine form as they rose to second place after eight games. However, the good form would not last, and the Stones would eventually start to slide down the table.


With London based side sitting in 18th place in early February, manager Dean Brennan departed Grosvenor Vale. Assistant manager Stuart Maynard took the position and looked to ready the team for the 2021/22 season with no relegation to tier six. Maynard and co. limped home to the end of the season with just four wins in their last 24 outings – including four games where they conceded at least four goals.


This summer has seen at lot of change at Wealdstone with Maynard dealing with several incomings and outgoings. Striker Ross Lafayette retired, star man Jacob Mendy joined Boreham Wood and much more. Wealdstone have also welcomed 11 new faces through the door. The likes of Medy Elito, Charlie Cooper and Josh Umerah have added National League experience to the squad.


The Royals enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season with victories over Chesham United, Dorking Wanderers and Hungerford Town. Maynard’s side also played out draws against St Albans City, Bedford Town and League Two side, Colchester United. New signing opened his league account on the opening day, but Wealdstone fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Woking – following a Max Kretzchmar brace.

 

Manager


Name: Stuart Maynard

Age: 52

Years spent in management: Less than a year

Teams managed: Wealdstone (2021).

Record against Chesterfield as manager: P1 W0 D1 L0


Maynard took charge of Wealdstone at the start of February 2021 after previous manager Dean Brennan resigned. The former midfielder, who started his playing career with the Stones, was Brennan’s assistant and was tasked with the job to get the club ready for the 2021/22 season. With nor relegation to the sixth tier confirmed – after the curtailment of the National League North and South – Maynard’s went through the motions for the last 24 games of the season.


The Royals ended up as the league’s worst defence with almost 100 goals conceded. Like many clubs in the National League, Wealdstone have said goodbye to many players as well as welcoming new faces to Grosvenor Vale. Maynard will hope to spring a couple of surprises this season and look towards a midtable finish.

 

Star Player


Name: Charlie Cooper

Position: Midfielder

Age: 24


What does he offer Wealdstone? At the age of 24, Cooper already has five years of National League experience and has a promotion under his belt with Forest Green Rovers back in 2017. He has made a name for himself as tough-tackling midfielder who has an attacking flair to his game. The central midfielder was a bright spark in a struggling Woking side last season and is a shrewd addition to a Wealdstone side looking to cause trouble in fifth tier.


What other clubs has he played for? Birmingham City (2015-2017), Forest Green Rovers on loan (2016), York City on loan (2016), Forest Green Rovers on loan (2016-2017), Forest Green Rovers (2017-2019), Newport County on loan (2018), Boreham Wood on loan (2019), FC Halifax Town (2019-2020) and Woking (2020-2021).


Last Seasons Stats in All Competitions:

Games Played: 45

Goals: Four

Assists: Seven

Yellow Cards: Seven

Red Cards: One

Minutes Played: 3,809

 

Head-to-head record


Chesterfield and Wealdstone have only faced each other on two occasions with both those games happening last season. The team from Greater London came away from those two games with an impressive four points.


The two teams were set to duke it out in the first game of the 2019/20 National League, but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Grosvenor Vale. The re-scheduled fixture started off well for the Spireites as Tom Denton dispatched a penalty after just three minutes. A Moses Emmanuel double put the home side 2-1 up by half time. Jacob Mendy added to the Stones lead in 82nd minute. Denton reduced the deficit just a minute later, but John Pemberton’s side fell to a fourth defeat in five games.


By the reverse meeting, both sides had made managerial changes and were fighting at different ends of the National League table. Despite James Rowe’s side throwing everything at the Wealdstone goal, the game somehow ended goalless.

 

Team News


The Spireites have no new injury concerns following their 2-0 win over Aldershot Town last Saturday. George Carline, Alex Whittle and Fraser Kerr are all edging closer towards full match fitness as they return from their respective injuries.


Wealdstone will be with the returning Zach Dronfield as the new signing returns following his suspension. However, both Connor Stevens and Danny Parish are unavailable; the former is still suffering from a foot injury and the latter has been sent out on loan to Billericay Town as he returns to match fitness.

 

From the dugout


Rowe: “The warning is there. They took four points off us last year. We won’t underestimate them. They’ll play their part for sure.


“We’ve got to make sure that we focus fully on ourselves and what objectives we need to tick off to win the game. We are really excited to get going tomorrow.”

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