Sep 13 2012 By Jon Batham
Gordon Bartlett Image 2
GORDON Bartlett claims Wealdstone’s bench for Saturday’s FA Cup win over Biggleswade illustrates a greater strength in depth at the club this season.
The Stones boss had the luxury of having stalwarts like Sean Cronin and James Hammond alongside him in the dugout in company with summer
signings Tommy Brewer and Nathan Webb, plus former QPR striker Shabazz Baidoo and Capital League hot-shot Mark Knight.
With several of the substitutes able to play a number of different roles Bartlett claims it gives him a competition for places perhaps lacking in the past.
He said: “To be fair if you look at the bench today that is strong – very strong. One or two are going to have to step up from Capital League duty, but this week the Capital League side did well and that puts extra pressure on.
“Sean Cronin coming back from suspension and a wedding adds strong competition at the back because he is experienced and having him sitting on the bench you are not worried about your two centre-halves. We want to keep everybody chomping at the bit to be in the first XI whatever position.”
A renewal of rivalries with Lowestoft awaits for Wealdstone after they eased over their first FA Cup hurdle, but the next battle comes in Saturday’s trip onto Canvey Island to face Concord.
Bartlett’s men have a decent record against the unpredictable Beachboys having won on their last two visits, but he knows that will count for nothing this weekend and he is wary of the threat posed by their Essex hosts.
He added: “I don’t look back to the past and any decent record we have there because it is what we do on Saturday that counts.
“On paper Concord look a very good side, but they don’t seem to have started so far so I hope next Saturday is not the time they choose to kick-start their season.
“Their two fellas will be working hard to get things right because they are good coaches and good management, so it isn’t going to be easy.”
The Lowestoft game on September 22 is bound to stir the emotions of Stones’ players and fans alike, evoking as it will memories of the painful play-off exit at the hands of the men from Suffolk in May, and should extend Gordon Bartlett’s men further than Biggleswade managed.
Richard Jolly fired against the bar before Stones deservedly went ahead on 18 minutes, Peter Dean’s delivery this time seeing Jolly made no mistake to side-foot home from six yards.
Wes Parker headed against the bar and Jolly the post, but it was not until four minutes after the break the hosts doubled the led when Kurtney Brooks' ball over the top sent Jolly racing clear, and after he pushed the ball beyond the visiting keeper, Dean followed up to poke over the