Following Tuesday evening’s narrow defeat up at FC Halifax Town, The Shots’ return to the EBB Stadium on Saturday, to take on 11th placed Boreham Wood.
In association with LV BET, Rob Worrall previews the game:
Whilst Mitch Walker, Joe Rabbetts, George Fowler and James Rowe all missed Tuesday’s trip to Halifax as they continued to self-isolate, Lewis Kinsella, Craig Tanner and Ross McCormack are all making progress with their recovery from long term injuries. Alex Finney is also doubtful (hamstring). Youngsters Ryan Hall, Ben Shroll and Reece Wylie could once again be involved in Saturday’s match day squad.
Name: Boreham Wood FC
Nickname: The Wood
Manager: Luke Garrard
Stadium: Meadow Park
2019/20 Final National League position: 5th
Current National League position: 11th
Promoted via the play-offs from National League South in 2014/15, The Wood’s first season in Non-League’s top tier saw them avoid relegation in dramatic style by winning their final three games. That allowed them to build further and the work they put in paid dividends with a top-half finish in 2016-17. The following season, The Wood improved further, finishing in 4th place and going on to make the Promotion final, only to lose out to Tranmere Rovers. Two seasons ago, much like Aldershot Town, they flirted with relegation, ultimately finishing in 20th place, one place outside the drop zone. Last season they finished 5th and made the Play Offs, beating FC Halifax Town in the eliminator and going out in the semi-final to eventual winners Harrogate Town.
Luke Garrard became the youngest manager in any of England’s top five divisions when he was appointed as the boss of Boreham Wood aged just 30 in October 2015. A former Wood defender, Garrard started out as a trainee with Spurs before moving on to Swindon Town where he spent three years between 2002 and 2005. He spent time on the books of Bishop’s Stortford and Boreham Wood upon leaving The County Ground and then moved on to AFC Wimbledon in 2006 for a four-year stint and over 100 appearances. He initially returned to Boreham Wood on loan in 2009/10 before making the reunion permanent that summer and he made well over 100 appearances before succeeding Ian Allinson in the Meadow Park hot seat. In 2017-18, he steered the club to their highest ever finish 94th place) and to the play-off final at Wembley. 2018/19 was a challenging season for Garrard as his side narrowly avoided relegation, but last season they bounced back strongly under his leadership and finished fifth, prior to that play-off semi-final defeat at Harrogate Town.
Boreham Wood Squad:
Garrard kept 13 of last season’s playing squad and has, so far, brought in just 8 new faces. Their 21-man squad, is one of the smallest in the National League. Familiar names that stayed put in North London included; Mark Ricketts, Tom Champion, David Stephens, Keiran Murtagh, Jamal Fyfield, ex-Shot Adam McDonnell, top scorer Kabongo Tshimanga (15 National League goals to date) and Sorba Thomas, who has since moved into the EFL with Huddersfield. Wood have strengthened their ranks with the likes of striker Shaquile Coulthirst, left sided defender Zaine Francis-Angol, wide forward Corey Whitely and Gus Mafuta (midfield). Goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore, on loan at Wood last season, is now on a permanent deal and former forward Tyrone Marsh has also returned to the club, after a brief spell at Stevenage.
The Wood have drawn 6 of their last 7 National League matches. On Tuesday evening, they led 2-0 with 15 minutes left, only to concede twice late on, to Notts County. They have the third best away record in the National League with 24 points from their 16 matches to date. Whilst they are one of the division’s lowest scorers, they do have the 6th best defence in the league, having conceded an average of 1 goal per game in their 29 league matches to date.
Saturday’s referee is Steven Copeland. It will be his tenth National League game this season. To date, he has shown 16 yellow cards and 1 red card. He has not refereed either Aldershot Town or Boreham Wood yet, this season.
The match is ‘behind closed doors’ but will be live streamed on ‘Shots TV Live’ HERE, with Presenter Mark Butler and commentary from Rob Worrall & Gavin Denison. The match commentary will also be available online, on BBC Radio Surrey Sport and the BBC Sport App.