Match Preview: Stones v Shots

Maidstone United v Aldershot Town Match Preview – Saturday 27th April 2019 – 12:30PM KICK OFF

Aldershot Town got back to winning ways with a solid 2-0 home victory against Havant & Waterlooville to jump a league position for the first time since November, leapfrogging the Hawks into 21st. With financial clouds surrounding at least two other teams in the National League, the Shots will hope that finishing in 21st will offer a slim, slim chance of a reprieve. They face also relegated Maidstone United who are rooted to the bottom of the table in the final league game of the 2018/19 season. Chris Woods previews the action…

Shots Squad:
Gary Waddock made six changes for the Havant match with Matt McClure one of the changes; the striker played a key role in the 2-0 victory as Waddock’s squad is near full strength. Will Mannion looks to have played his last game of his loan spell as injury has kept him out the last two matches, George Fowler remains injured and has been out since November. Nick Arnold played his first competitive football match in 20 months after featuring in both games over the Easter period, George Elokobi and Lewis Kinsella also made their comebacks from injury on the Easter weekend. With both sides relegated, the Shots have asked the Stones to waive a clause in the Alex Finney deal to allow the defender to play against his former club.

Name: Maidstone United
Founded: 1992 (as Maidstone Invicta)
Nickname: The Stones
Managers: John Still & Hakan Heyrettin
Stadium: Gallagher Stadium
2017/18 National League position: 19th
2018/19 National League position: 24th (Relegated to the National League South)

Brief History:
Maidstone United FC was founded in 1897 and reformed in 1992 after the demise of the Football League side. They began life again as Maidstone Invicta and were led by the Chairman at the time, Paul Bowden-Brown.

The Gaffers:
John Still’s retirement was short-lived after stepping down from his Head of Football role at Barnet in late January this year. Within a month he was appointed Head of Football at the Stones, appointing Braintree Town Manager Hakan Heyrettin as his Head Coach. The pair stepped in for Harry Wheeler who had struggled to lift a struggling Stones out of the bottom four. Still and Heyrettin have also struggled and the Stones were the first side to be relegated from the National League this season and will end the season as the league’s basement side.

In the close season, with Jay Saunders in charge at the time, 11 players left the Gallagher Stadium, 8 of whom were released. Notable losses included defenders Josh Hare and Alex Winter (both joined Eastleigh). Wheeler oversaw a large overhaul of playing staff also as he looked to recruit some of his Billericay Town title-winning squad. Alex Finney joined the Shots, Jordan Wynter and Andre Coker joined Dartford, Jamar Loza initially joined Woking on loan before heading to Billericay, Magnus Okuonghae , Nana Ofori-Twumasi joined Maidenhead and the pair of Charlie Wassmer and Jake Robinson came and went with Wheeler to Billericay.

Saunders kept 10 players, including lively striker Blair Turgott.. Saunders brought in 9 players, including Centre Back Will de Haviland (Wycombe Wanderers). When Wheeler arrived he was highly active, bringing in Billericay Town skipper Simon Walton initially on loan before he joined Still and Heyrettin’s coaching team, Rob Swaine made the move from Chelmsford City, Hartlepool forward Jake Cassidy, Brentford forward Jarvis Ebodor and Palace stopper Dion Curtis-Henry joined on loan and and permanent captures included Justin Amaluzor and utility player Olu Durojaiye, who both came from Braintree.

Saturday’s referee is unknown at the time of publication.

BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and former Shots Director Brian Bloomfield will be covering the game live on Saturday lunchtime. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 12:20PM for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66.