Phil Parkinson's 700th league game will see him make a first visit to Grosvenor Vale, and a tough challenge awaits his Wrexham side.
Parkinson will want to see his side replicate Last Saturday's performance against Boreham Wood, when his three January captures were prominent in an emphatic 3-0 win. He'll still be without top scorer Paul Mullin, though, who is half way through his 4-match suspension.
Our three matches against Wealdstone have shown that they will be difficult opposition. The Stones returned to the fifth tier for the first time in 32 years in 2020, and after a campaign of consolidation, this season has been impressive, albeit in a low key sort of way. As Wealdstone's manager, Stuart Maynard, told his club website,
We've gone under the radar all season, we haven't gone and won five, six, seven games on the bounce which then gets highlighted, we've just slowly ticked along and that's what you've got to do, we don't need to be in the lights. We've got to keep ticking along and picking up points and that's it.
They couldn't help but grab some headlines last Saturday, though, after a terrific 3-1 win at the home of local rivals Barnet. The fixture certainly has history - it was the first one to be televised in the UK in 1946 - and The Stones turned on the magic for their travelling fans.
Sadly, a memorable win was tarnished by poor behaviour from a small group in the away end, but the club has acted with admirable swiftness and firmness to condemn such behaviour: Chairman Rory Fitzgerald issued a statement which rightly distinguished between those responsible and the true fans who have helped form the excellent reputation Wealdstone have enjoyed for many years:
As a club, the diversity of our home and away support across age, gender and race is something we are hugely proud of and we have been widely praised by our opponents throughout the season for our supporters conduct.
A large number of our following on Saturday was made up of young children who we have actively encouraged to watch their local football club through ticket and community initiatives and who enjoy the family atmosphere the club seeks to create.
We will absolutely NOT tolerate a small minority of people who associated themselves with our club for this fixture to tarnish our reputation. We apologise for their behaviour on behalf of all true Wealdstone supporters. We thank the vast, vast majority of those who travelled to support us on Saturday for their incredible support.
The Stones will be hoping to have a couple of players back in contention after injury: Ira Jackson was absent at Barnet following an injuury he received in midweek against Yeovil Town, while Nikola Tavares picked up a groin injury at Barnet and was taken off as a precaution.
HEAD TO HEAD
We’ve faced Wealdstone three times, and they’ve shown on each occasion that they are an extremely competitive National League side.
Our first match at Grosvenor Vale was a wild one. We went behind in the 15th minute, but equalised immediately through a bizarre own goal, sliced into the net from 15 yards.
Three minutes later, Adi Yussuf scored his first Wrexham goal and it looked like the visitors would be able to take control of the match, but within 3 minutes Jacob Mendy scored a remarkable goal from distance to equalise.
Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second half as two poorly-defended corners allowed Wealdstone to take a 4-2 lead.
Yussuf struck again in the second minute of added time, and remarkably there was still time for Fiacre Kelleher to miss an easy headed chance before the whistle finally blew on a 4-3 loss.
The Stones weren’t intimidated by their first visit to The Racecourse, and harboured hopes of a league double when they went into the break 1-0 up. However, Dean Keates’ side went through the gears in the second half to snatch the momentum away from the visitors.
Kwame Thomas equalised soon after the break, and a Luke Young goal meant we were ahead within the first ten minutes of the half. Thomas grabbed another and Dior Angus rounded off a 4-1 win.
When Wealdstone returned to The Racecourse in November last year, Wrexham had just hit a remarkable purple patch, scoring 11 goals in the course of the previous week with a 5-0 triumph at Aldershot followed by a 6-2 win at Kings Lynn.
Wealdstone proved to be made of far sterner stuff, though, and came out of the game with a point from a goalless draw. In the process they became the first side to keep a clean sheet against us all season, in our 18th game.
Phil Parkinson's 700th league match as manager.