MATCH PREVIEW: Aldershot Town v Barnet FC

Following the postponement of Aldershot Town’s Boxing Day match at Eastleigh, Aldershot Town welcome 11th placed Barnet to the EBB Stadium on Saturday. 

Shots Squad:
Town boss Danny Searle should have a fairly full playing squad to choose from. George Fowler is out with a long-term knee injury but making good progress.  

Name: Barnet FC
Founded: 1888
Nickname: The Bees
Manager: Darren Currie
Stadium: The Hive (Capacity: 6,205)
2018-19 Final National League position: 13th 

Brief History:
Formed in 1888 as Chipping Barnet, they have spent the majority of their 130-years in non-league football, winning various honours such as the FA Amateur Cup in 1946, Southern League Cup in 1976 and Conference League Cup in 1989. They were promoted to the Football League for the first time in 1991 but have bobbed up and down three times since. They again won promotion in 2005 and 2015, but, alas, on the final day of last season were relegated despite a 3-0 win over basement side Chesterfield. Famous former players include Dougie Freedman, Linvoy Primus, Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Jimmy Greaves, Alan Pardew, Mark Lawrenson and, of course, Edgar Davids. 

The Gaffer:
Darren Currie began his coaching career whilst at Boreham Wood, joining in 2011 as player/assistant manager. He then moved to Dagenham & Redbridge in 2012 as development coach whilst still registered as a player. Following John Still’s departure to Luton Town, Currie was promoted to assistant manager at the Daggers. He had a stint as caretaker manager before becoming Still’s assistant following his return to Dagenham in 2015. Currie then moved to former-club Barnet with Still for the start of last season and was promoted to Bees manager when Still temporarily retired in December 2019. Currie steered Barnet to victory over Sheffield United in the FA Cup 3rdRound last season, before taking Brentford to a replay in Round 4. They currently sit two places higher in the National League table than they finished last season. 

Playing Squad:
Currie kept a pretty settled squad from last season, retaining more players than any other National League side. Key departures include goalkeeper Mark Cousins (Bromley), utility player Craig Robson (Billericay Town) and striker Dave Tarpey (Woking). Key players remaining at The Hive include Ex-Shots Cheye Alexander and Callum Reynolds, winger Dan Sparkes, midfielders Charlee Adams & Andre Boucaud and forwards Shaquille Coulthurst, Effron Mason-Clark and Simeon Akinola who is top scorer this season with 12 goals to date. Currie also signed goalkeeper Scott Loach from Hartlepool, midfielder James Dunne from Swindon Town and more recently, former Millwall (and Shots loanee) striker Alfie Pavey.    

Tuesday’s referee is Ryan Atkin. He taken charge of 6 National League matches so far this season, issuing 8 yellow cards and 0 red cards to date. Saturday will be his third Shots game in 7 matches as he also took the middle in Town’s 3-0 home defeat to Hartlepool and their 6-1 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge.   

BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and former Aldershot Town Director will be covering the game live on Saturday. Tune-in to the BBC Sport website or BBC Sport App from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66 and/or @TommyAnderson94.