Old pals lock horns for der­bies

WEALDSTONE

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

As young­sters grow­ing up in West Lon­don, Bartlett and Devon­shire played to­gether for Vik­ing Sports in Green­ford, as well as for the Eal­ing District Schools side.

But while Devon­shire went on to make his name with West Ham and Eng­land, in­jury cur­tailed Bartlett’s play­ing days and he made his mark as a man­ager in­stead.

The man who last year cel­e­brated two decades in the Wealdstone hot­seat now leads his side into a fes­tive dou­ble­header against Devon­shire’s Maiden­head United.

But while Maiden­head are run­away Na­tional League South lead­ers, the Stones have the psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tage of hav­ing knocked them out of the FA Tro­phy last month.

Bartlett said: “Me and Dev played to­gether quite a bit as young­sters, then he went on to have this fan­tas­tic ca­reer while mine was snuffed out. We’ve had many battles as man­agers, and I have the ut­most re­spect for him as a man­ager.

“But putting them out the FA Tro­phy counts for noth­ing. They have the up­per hand, be­ing top of the ta­ble and beat­ing a pro­mo­tion ri­val 5-0 on Satur­day. They’re on fire and Dave Tarpey is scor­ing for fun, but we know we’ve got a chance after the Tro­phy game, and I think they will re­spect us.

“We’ve gone six games un­beaten now, the con­fi­dence is build­ing and it feels like we’ve turned the cor­ner. But with Ebb­s­fleet, and then South­port in the Tro­phy to come after Maiden­head, you couldn’t pick a tougher run of games.”

While Maiden­head were ham­mer­ing Dart­ford on Satur­day, it took a last-minute lO­mar Koroma lev­eller for the Stones to grab a 1-1 draw at Poole Town.

Bartlett said: “I was de­lighted to gain a point in that man­ner but dis­ap­pointed be­cause we should have had all three. We hit the wood­work and their keeper was man of the match by a coun­try mile.”

Bartlett is hop­ing to have Liam Gould back from in­jury for the der­bies and should def­i­nitely have Tom Ham­blin back. Johnny Wright, who was on the bench at Poole de­spite not be­ing fit, should be avail­able, but striker Sahr Kabba has joined neigh­bours Har­row Bor­ough on loan.

Bartlett said: “Sahr’s got tremen­dous pace and is a proven scorer, and we’re hop­ing go­ing out on loan will light the touch­pa­per for him.”

RE­UNITED: Wealdstone fix­ture Gor­don Bartlett is look­ing for­ward to cross­ing swords with man­age­rial ri­val – and for­mer team­mate – Alan Devon­shire again Pic­ture: John-Pa­trick Fletcher

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