Experienced Weatherstone confident new-look Blues will start to gel
- Credit: Archant
Wingate & Finchley host Dean Barker’s Northwood this evening in the Middlesex Charity Cup
Long-serving defender Marc Weatherstone says Wingate & Finchley are nearer to getting on the right track than results may show – with Northwood’s visit to Summers Lane for tonight’s Middlesex Charity Cup first round tie in sight.
However the centre back, now in his second spell with the Blues following a period at Dulwich Hamlet, admits ex-manager Keith Rowland’s departure has been a wake-up call for the squad.
“I believe it brought mixed emotions to the squad,” said the defender. “Firstly, what he achieved in the two-and-a-half-years in charge made Keith the most successful Wingate manager to date.
“To achieve the play-offs two seasons ago when I believe the bookies had Wingate favourites to get relegated, shows what a fantastic job he had and has done, so he deserves the upmost respect for that.
“It’s been a very frustrating start to the season, as when you look at our squad individually, I truly believe it’s up there with the best squads in the league.
“We have had a number of new signings this year - including myself - which takes time to gel. I didn’t think it would take this long, but we are so close to getting it right and setting the league alight.”
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It’s been an up and down season thus far for a side who have accumulated only three wins from eleven games in all competitions – with more than half ending in defeat – including in the last outing against Bishop’s Stortford.
Yet, goals from Weatherstone and Chase O’Neill provided a second half comeback in which they looked on course for a point in Hertfordshire, until a gut-wrenching last-minute defeat.
Nevertheless, bright sparks of positivity came to light with a much more usual-looking, potent display coming close to unshackling a poor run of form.
And he’s aware that if results are to be turned on its head, goals need to rain from their attackers with Weatherstone leading the way on four goals.
Yet, first and foremost, ‘Weather’s’ applies pressure on himself to keep the goals out at the other end regardless of how many goals go in their favour.
“The game against Bishop’s Stortford symbolises what we are about, especially in the second half - slick passes, hard work, creating chances,” he continued.
“Unfortunately defensive errors cost us, but so many positives to take from the game to lead us into Northwood.
“In every game - win, lose or draw - you need to take some positives, but also learn from the negatives and I believe like I said, we are close to getting it spot on.
“I cannot speak for anyone else, but as a defender there is never extra pressure to keep a clean sheet as the desire every game is at the highest level it can be.
“We need to score more - which we are fully aware of - and that will be the only way to achieve the ambitions we have for this season.
“On the flip side, if we don’t concede goals, we don’t lose games so it’s important we organise ourselves well enough to make us hard to beat.
“On a personal note, it’s nice to be the top scorer, although I hope that changes sharpish unless I can get 30 goals myself!”
As alluded to, Northwood visit this evening for a return to cup action - a side which boasts former Blues youth-team coach Dean Barker and a hatful of ex-Wingate players.
However, for a player who is closing in on 450 appearances for the Finchley men, doesn’t believe any inside knowledge will hold any sway on the outcome.
“Tuesday’s game should be very interesting due to the fact ex-Wingate players and coach will be the opposition,” he finished.
“I’ve never been coached by Dean as when he came in, I left for Dulwich, so I’m not sure of his style but what I know of him as a person, I’m sure he has Northwood playing some good football.
“I don’t think it will be anything like a chess match, as I feel formations are an easy excuse for players to use for loses.
“What Dean knows of us doesn’t really matter; at the end of the day, if we work hard to the maximum and have a winning mentality, then we will beat most teams with the players we have.”