Following conformation of the club’s promotion back to the Confrence/National league for the first time since the 1987-1988 season. The club has been on an onward trajetory since moving to Ruislip in 2008. The club has increased crowds from the 200 to just over 1000 for the 2019-2020 season. While returning to the promised land, the division is much changed with the majority of clubs full time operations. Several clubs have managed as a part time operation within the league.
Manager Dean Brennan appointed in the summer of 2019 following Bobby Wilkinson’s sacking, is an experienced manager at Step 2 , but will no doubt have been working on recruitment for the summer and the move to step 1. Within this article we will be looking at some potential signings ahead of the season.
After 10 year’s service Jonathan North left the club in January and later joined Hendon. His position was covered by two loan signings for the majority of the season in Aston Oxborough from Norwich and Harry Isted from Luton Town. Unless one of these is secured again for the next season, Dean will need to secure a first team keeper. Ideally he would need to look at someone who has experience of Conference football, but this might come at a price.
Below are 5 keepers that Dean and his team could look at to provide this experience.
- Craig Ross– Currently at Woking but has played at League 2 and Confrence level for Cambridge United, Woking and Maccelsfield Town.
- Mark Cousion-An experienced keeper in League 2 and lower but at 33 the oldest of the players Wealdstone could look at. He does however have over 100 apperences at League 2 and Conference level each. Currently playing for Bromley in the conference.
- George Legg- A young goalkeeper at only 24 . Was in the Reading setup from a young age up and until the end of last season. Has experience on loan at this level and might not be an immediate first choice between the sticks, but could be a great backup or cup keeper to consider.
- Jamie Stephens– A keeper that started his career in the west country before being signed to Liverpool. He did however fail to make any appearances for the club but then has experience of League 1 and 2 football with Newport County and Barnet. He then signed for Northwood in early 2020 having been out of the game for nearly 2 years.
Kai McKenzie-Lyle– A younger keeper who is likely to be released by Liverpool this summer. He was signed by the merseyside after some impressive appearances for Barnet U18’s and made only 1 appearance for the first team before leaving. Possibly another promising keeper to join the ranks.
Now we have discussed the goalkeeping situation, the defence which helped the club to promotion will need strenthning. I’ve looked at some players with confrence experience or onces that would be able to provide experience and talent to help the club move forward in the 2020-2021 season.
An interesting loan signing could be Teddy Perkins who is part of Watford’s U23 side. He was originally with Leyton Orient before signing for Burnley and ending up in Hertfordshire earlier in 2020. With him unlikely to make the step up to the 1st team next season, it would worthwhile him joining a club like Wealdstone to gain 1st teamexperience.
Another plan who could join the club for 1st team experience is Morgan Williams currently at Coventry having signed from non-league Mickelover Sports in 2018 and has only made 2 first team appearances in 24 months. He can be seen in the video below playing at Number 5.
If the club is looking for experience at this level they could look no further than former player Alan Massey who played for the club for 5 seasons before moving to Braintee and Maidenhead who has over 150 appearances at this level. If the club could tempt him back is another thing having played under Alan Devonshire for 8 years now. Massey is a strong no-nonsense defender who would be a good addition to the squad.
Another defender to look at would be Joe Kizzi at Bromley. Joe was in the National League south team of the year in the 18-19 season and played for Bromley in the National league in the 19-20 season. Could the stones tempt him to North-West London?
Another experienced defender the club could look at is Sam Habegham who has experience at this level under Danny’s Cowley Braintree and Lincoln squads. He has not played for the past 12 months and providing he can keep injury free would be another experienced addition to the squad.
Another useful squad additional would be David Longe-King who is currently at St Albans and has been called up to the England C team in the last 12 months. David played at Step 2 to 4 in Non-league and having seen him play several times i believe he would be able to make the step up to the National League.
Another squad addition is locally based played Jack Conners. Jack is another player with experience at Level 2 and Conference for Dagenham/Ebbsfleet and Dover. In the 2019-2020 season Jack made 24 appearances for Dulwich Hamlet. At only 25 years old, this would be an astute signing for the club.
It’s time to move into the middle of the park as we continue our our look at potentional signings for Wealdstone. The midfield provided lots of goals during the 2019-2020 campaign but could do with some squad depth for the following season.
The next 2 players are on the youthful side but again could provide some squad depth to the side. The first is Alfi Touceda who currently plays at Step 4 with Aylesbury United, but has had plenty of 1st team scouts from League 1/2 looking at him recently. At only 19 he has plenty of time to develop either with the club or on loan. Another player that Alfi has played with at Aylesbury is Jamie Jellis who signed with Stevenage in 2018 and at 19 is another player who would need to be developed before making the step up.
A player that impressed me 18 months ago and i am surprised has not been signed up by a higher division team is Shane Byrne of Brackley. Part of the team that won the FA Trophy in 2018. At 27 he is in his peak years and has been a consistent part of a Brackley team that has over achieved there targets in recent years. Surely a move to the National league would be enough to tempt him away from Brackley?
We have to go to the Kent coast for the next player Adam Lovatt who is currently plying his trade with Hastings United. The player has had several trials at Championship sides but not done enough to sign a pro-deal. He has impressed with Hastings and would be a great addition to the Wealdstone side.
Next up is an American player currently playing at Step 3 in Non-league football, but has all the potential to make the step up. The player is Max Oldham who has played for Corinthian-Casuals and helped them rise up the division. Another option for Dean and the club could look at. If they are looking at winger’s for the side they could also consider Luis Dos Santos at Chatham, another player that has had trials in League 1 and 2 in the past 18 months. He only has experience at Step 5 of non-league but is a tricky winger who could be developed to play at Step 1 and higher…
We will finish off looking at midfield players at some players that would be a long-shot if they could be tempted to north west London. First up we have Jacob Gardiner-Smith currently contracted to Wycombe and is only 22 years old but is highly tipped after spending his youth career in Russia before playing for St Albans and Hendon until signing for Wycombe last summer. He hasn’t featured for the first team and had a loan spell with Braintree last season. Should Dean be on the phone to Gareth Ainsworth about this midfielder?
Next up is Kurtis Cumberbatch who was part of the Watford Academy as a youngster before being released and working his way through non league sides from Step 3-5 before making the step up to Dover Athletic last season. He made 18 apperences in the 2020-2021 season at Step 1.
The last player we will look at, we have to take a trip to Dean Brennan’s homeland for. Will Fitzgerald is a 20 year old midfielder highly tipped in the Irish Premier Division and joined Waterford last summer from Limerick and plays a Right attacking midfielder. Could Dean tempt this player to switch the South East of Ireland for north west london.
If you want win games, then you need a striker. While the club had plenty of options during last season, they will need to strengthen this position ahead of a tough 1st season in the National league.
A player that could be tempted is Ricky Miller who has left the pro game and is now looking for a club. He has a good scoring record at this level and has previously played for the club some years ago. Could he be tempted with another crack at the National league?
A younger player that could make the step up is Jack Mazzone who has experience at Step 2-5 in non league and has a fine goal scoring record at each level. He might not be the first name on the team sheet, but could be a good impact sub for the club.
A useful loan signing for the club would be Charlie Brown currently in the Chelsea setup.He has recently completed a loan spell in Belgium, but a full season loan in the confrence might help his development. Would the U23 side be willing to loan him out next season?
Danny Parish who scored over 30 goals at Step 3 last season including some noticebal ones in the FA CUP. A former youth player at Brentford who has spent the past few years in non-league football. Could Danny who has a good eye for the goal be another talent to make the step up next season.
The last but no means last is a left footed striker. He has a powerful shot and is very quick. Kahil Francis has been selected by Middlesex County as an U16 and U18 player. He has had successful seasons in the Hendon U23’s and for the Chalfont St Peter side in thw 2019-2020 season. While Kahil Francis is a young player, another player to develop for the side.
Who else do you think Dean Brennan should add to the squad ahead of next season?