Wealdstone manager won’t be drawn on title talk
PUBLISHED: 14:49 04 October 2013 | UPDATED: 14:54 04 October 2013
Wealdstone manager Gordon Bartlett has refused to label his side potential title challengers this season – but insisted: “no-one frightens us”.
Stones are unbeaten after their first 11 games of the season in the Ryman League Premier Division, with six wins and five draws keeping them among the early pace-setters.
They entertain Margate at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday with a chance to extend that record, and have also reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.
But Bartlett, whose team have been denied promotion via heartbreaking play-off defeats in each of the last two seasons, refused to entertain title talk.
“If we’re in the mix at the end of February, then I’ll answer that question,” said Bartlett. “But I’ve been delighted with the start we’ve made, if you look at the teams around us, no-one has pulled away, no one really frightens us at the moment.
“I said at the start of the season that it would be a very tight title race and that’s already proving the case.
“After our pre-season there was a lot of negativity, and then we drew our first three games which was hardly ideal, but I felt our performances were not as bad as results suggested, and since then the team has blended very well, I’ve been pleased.”
Despite his positivity, Bartlett warned his side that they cannot afford a repeat of the late lapses in concentration which have cost points recently.
Both Hornchurch and Lewes have struck late goals to earn a draw when Wealdstone looked odds-on for all three points – points which would have had the Stones at the summit.
“That has been the frustration so far, dropping points which we shouldn’t have done,” added Bartlett. “We would have been four points better off and in a stronger position.”
The standout performer in recent weeks has been forward Tom Pett, who scored his fifth goal of the season in the FA Cup win over Haringey Borough at the weekend.
Bartlett said that Pett, who signed from Potters Bar Town in 2011, is thriving in his new position behind the strikers.
“We’ve changed his role, he’s now playing centrally higher up the park and enjoying it,” said Bartlett. “He spent a lot of last season playing out wide, which is not has natural position, but he benefitted from that experience.”
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