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Hendon boss hopes ‘pay what you want’ game will bring some extra festive cheers

PUBLISHED: 23:46 18 December 2014 | UPDATED: 23:46 18 December 2014

Hendon striker Leon Smith (right)

Hendon striker Leon Smith (right)

Archant

Hendon manager Gary McCann is hopeful that the club’s ‘pay what you want’ game against Wingate & Finchley on December 27 will attract local football fans down to Earlsmead.

Hendon boss Gary McCannHendon boss Gary McCann

Kezie Ibe’s goal was enough to secure a 1-0 win against Leiston on Tuesday night to put the Greens fourth in the league.

With the top six levels of English football in action on both Boxing Day and Sunday, December 28, McCann’s side are looking to extend the traditional festive football feast for all fans for another day by offering them the chance, regardless of loyalty, to enjoy what promises to be a keenly contested local derby between two sides in the thick of the promotion play-off race.

Regular fans are encouraged to bring a friend along – with the club enjoying their best season in the league for many years.

With no football on television and admission of their choosing, it provides fans with the perfect opportunity to check out some non-league action.

McCann said: “The club have made a big push with this pay what you want idea. I hope we can get a good crowd down to watch the match. We moved the game from Boxing Day in the hope that we will see a few more faces in the stands.

“I know the Wingate manager Dave Norman really well.

“The fact we got Leon Smith to join us proves that because it was a discussion between the three of us where it was agreed that Leon needed a fresh challenge.

“He has done as well as any striker I’ve signed during my time in charge of Hendon. His goal in the recent draw against VCD Athletic was his 30th in 46 games, which is a great strike rate.”

McCann expects a tough game against a Wingate side who were relegated from the Premier Division last season before being reinstated due to Worksop Town’s resignation elsewhere in the pyramid.

McCann said: “Wingate have got some very good individual players. David Knight is an excellent goalscorer and the goalkeeper Bobby Smith is a player who I admire and spoke to in the summer.”

Before taking on Wingate, Hendon travel to Maidstone United, who are currently second in the league, on Saturday.

McCann said: “They’ve got an excellent home record, having won 14 out of 15 games. They play on a 3G pitch and I do think that helps them. We train on the same surface at Jubilee Park so I don’t expect us to have problems with the pitch on Saturday.”

The Hendon players have already enjoyed a night out in Shoreditch for their Christmas party and the team will eat Christmas dinner together next Tuesday.

McCann (pictured right) added: “You’ve got to trust that the players are going to look after themselves over the holiday period.

“I’ve assembled as tight a group as I’ve ever had. They are a really honest bunch of players.”

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