Saturday 9th March 2019
Grendon Rangers v Aston Clinton
Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
Grendon Playing Fields
Grendon Rangers host Aston Clinton this Saturday knowing victory could lift them into the dizzy heights of top half of the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table depending on other results obviously, but after a fine recent run that has seen Steve Jackman’s squad win three of their last four games they are comfortably away from the bottom end of that table as they go into their remaining five games of their season. With games in hand on Totternhoe, Rangers could go into eighth place which a few weeks ago seemed a distant dream, although their remaining league games are all tough as they face four sides who are currently above them and also travel to Sarratt who have won their last three games on the bounce. This week’s visitor’s Aston Clinton are in two cup finals already this season, and currently sit in third place in the league having lost just once in their last seven games in all competition, and have won their last two scoring seven without conceding a goal, a tough afternoon ahead for the Grendon squad….
This week Sports Shots caught up with Grendon duo Will Young and firstly we asked Mark O’Dell when he joined the club and how it all came about?
I have been signed on since December and played my first games in January. Andrew Hind (Haggis) dropped me a message originally to see if I fancied going training, and after the first session I got the buzz again and signed on the same night. Blocky’s (Steven Jackman) training sessions are well structured with a plan of how he wants the team to play, and most importantly enjoyable so I was keen to get involved. The lads have been awesome to be fair, and made me feel like I have been part of the club for years so it made it easy to fit in
Will Young has been involved with the club on and off for a while:
I have been with Grendon in and out since I was a kid and returned to the men’s squad this season. Grendon & I are like magnets, we are pulled together by force. Settling in has been no problem, it’s a great set up here
How does Will feel his season has been in terms of fitness & contribution?
Fitness was a bit of a struggle at the beginning being a smoky joe, however as the season progressed so did my fitness. Availability has been no problem as I only live fifteen & a half seconds away from the home ground. My performances have picked up and I’m happy with the way I am playing at the moment
Mark is slowly getting back to fitness after having time away from football for family:
I have played very few games the last three years since having my children, so my fitness has been a long way off however I am getting fitter the more games I get under my belt, and my aim is to take that into next season and hit the ground running for a good full season. Availability has been dependant on getting someone to have the kids as of late, but I am expecting to be available for the remaining six fixtures now. I have been pretty happy with my performances, and I am getting back to full sharpness. I am an older head in the changing room, so hopefully my experience along with Haggis, Andy Prescott and Stu Leonard will contribute to improving the squad
How good does Mark rate this current Grendon group, and have any players stood out?
The current squad is arguably one of the strongest since I have watched or played against Grendon in recent times, we have a good blend of youth and experience now and that should take us to a strong finish at the end of the season. I have probably been most impressed with Will Young and Andy Prescott so far . If you met Youngy before or after the ninety minutes you’d think he’s not quite the full ticket, but when that whistle goes he has been absolutely solid in all the games I have played in. I have known Andy for years, and although he has lost a little bit of his explosive pace, he has still caused the defenders he has faced a lot of issues by making his presence felt
Will is equally impressed by the squad:
I feel Grendon has improved a great deal since last year, and we keep on getting better. To be honest everyone has impressed me, they are a decent set of lads on the pitch and off
We asked Will what his favoured position & formation to play in is?
My favourite position would be centre back, I also don’t mind the bench with a pint in my hand! As for formation I think our best is three-five-two as its more attacking and direct
Mark has returned to a position he knows well:
I did enjoy a stint in defensive midfield on Saturday, but my favoured position is centre back. We have played three-four-one-two in most of the games I have been involved in, and it has been easy to form an understanding with the lads at the back. We have a good mix of pacey and physical defenders, so we seem to complement each other well
Three wins and a narrow defeat to high Berkhamsted in their last four, how has Mark seen these games from a Rangers viewpoint?
Clean Slate was very straight forward, we expected to win that one and we did the job well and killed the game off very early on, limiting them to very few chances and we could probably have had another couple. I missed the 61FC game, but I understand it was much of the same, I know the lads were disappointed to concede, but I hear it was a screamer so couldn’t be helped. Gallacticos was a very good win and we defended well as a unit, they are a good footballing side and we did well to limit them to long range efforts, and the lads up top were very clinical when we created chances. Strangely, Berko was probably the best we played overall, but we weren’t as clinical as other weeks and that’s why we somehow came away with nothing. The fact that their keeper got their man of the match speaks volumes, but this game showed us how much we are improving as a side and that we shouldn’t fear anyone in this league
Will believes the squad have more confidence of late:
In our last four games we have started to believe in ourselves, shown a lot more confidence and belief that we can get results
Onto Aston Clinton this week, what does Will remember from their encounter earlier in the season, and what do Grendon need to change this time round?
To be honest with you I can’t recall much from that game, I can’t remember three weeks ago let alone a couple of months. However Saturday we all are going to put in a shift and a half, and fight like warriors
As Mark wasn’t at the club then, we asked if he knows anyone at Aston, and what he expects from them on Saturday:
I recognise their manager from playing against him a few years back now, but none of their players. I expect them to be a good side going forward as their recent results have seen plenty of goals, but they are still conceding in games so hopefully we can create more than them and turn them over on the day. The league doesn’t lie, so we have to treat them with the same respect as Berko and Gallacticos and approach the game as we did against them
What targets do the club and Mark have for the run in?
The clubs targets are to win all of our remaining fixtures. We feel we have competed well enough against the top few sides over the last few weeks, and are confident enough to beat any of the sides that we have left to play. From a personal point of view, the aim is to keep as many clean sheets as possible and to pop up with a goal or two if I can as well. I have a bet with Haggis that I will score before he does, so it would be nice to rub it in
Will is keeping his cards close to this chest:
Can’t be telling you that kind of information, you don’t know who will be reading this comments this close to the end of the season. However I can tell you my targets which are to get some sort of result for the up and coming games
Rounding up, we asked Will if he could nominate any team mate to go on any TV programme, who & what would he chose?
That’s no problem, it would be Sol (Janecki) and he would go on the Undateables. I know he has already tried out for it and didn’t get to go on, so this would really mean a lot to him if he could go on that show!
Mark chose a team mate popular in choice of late:
I would have to say Youngy on Emmerdale, he works on the farm, and I think his crazy character would be a great addition to the Dingles!
Sports Shots would like to thank Will & Mark for their time this week