Duncan Gardner discusses his team Weymouth FC ahead of the game at Plainmoor
Hi Duncan, so tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement with Weymouth fc?
I’ve supported Weymouth for as long as I can remember, from nearby when I grew up in the town and from afar since moving to Bristol 20 years ago.
I am very much a geek and write the stats section in the matchday programme, and have now badgered the club so much they have finally given in and let me do some other media bits such as long reads on former seasons and players for the website.
Sum up the teams season so far in a couple of paragraphs?
Difficult to answer that one succinctly! Firstly it’s fantastic to be back at this level again. We knew it would be a battle to stay up and at first it looked like we may fell short, showing pluck but a lack of nous. Then, just as we picked up form we were told we couldn’t go down!
How’s the Terras’ recent form been?
“Contrary” is the best word to describe it! We’ve won 5 out of 7 at home and not won in 7 away! With no fans in stadiums I think we are all scratching our heads as to why!
What’s been your highlights of the season so far?
Firstly it had to be that initial win against King’s Lynn as we then knew we could cut it at this level! Secondly it’s got to be winning away at Stockport. No one gave us a hope of getting a result there, especially when were a goal down but we came back to take all three points back down south! Thirdly it’s probably our recent 4-0 win over Wealdstone as it’s probably the only game this season where we’ve’ truly been able to relax!
Who are your key players and why?
Every fan probably looks at this a bit differently but as a statto I lean towards players that make a mark in spreadsheet columns so personally that’s ex-Northern Ireland international Josh McQuoid who is one of the few players improving on their stats this season since promotion. His fitness and drive this year has been remarkable and his reward has been a great goal and assists tally.
Secondly I have been seriously impressed with our new left winger this season Sean Shields. 10 assists and 4 goals now and he just seems to be able to have laser guided crosses and free kicks almost every game!
PLAYER PROFILE – SEAN SHIELDS
Date of Birth: 21st January 1992 – 29 years old
Former Clubs: Potters Bar Town, Rushden & Diamonds, St Albans City, Dagenham & Redbridge, Ebbsfleet United, Chelmsford City, Margate, Hemel Hempstead Town, Maidstone Utd, Boreham Wood, Notts County
International: Northern Ireland U-21 (2 caps)
National League Stats 20-21: Played 25, Goals 4
What’s your likely line-up and formation for Saturday?
In terms of line-up its not giving anything away to say we will probably have Ross in goal, Mensah and Aston Villa loanee Revan at CB. Dallas will almost certainly be the lone striker with Shields on the left wing and Brooks somewhere on the right. The rest will depend on who is picked based on rotation, form or niggles and knocks!
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most?
I would guess Halifax probably fit the bill here as they’ve scored 8 against us in the two games and we’ve never really been close to a result in both. I don’t tend to focus much on opposition players apart from those who have recently left us. Sod’s law of course that Whelan scored against us for Chesterfield last week!
Who are the owners and how have they coped with the last year?
The “owners” tag doesn’t really apply to us. We have a board of directors led by chairman Ian White but there is no big sugar daddy. It’s obviously been an extremely challenging time for the board acting largely as volunteers having to find tens of thousands in the summer to host two play-off games when testing and protocols were very rigid, then set up a streaming service for this season and maintain solvency without much income. Luckily our last set of accounts showed we were in the best shape we’ve been financially for over 20 years, which is a good place to be in these times!
It must be strange to be assured of another season in the league despite your league position?
It’s a weird mix of emotions. Sure there is relief but honestly there was personally a tinge of disappointment that we couldn’t prove we would have stayed up regardless. But as a club we will continue to strive to finish out of the drop zone on merit for pride, for prestige and for being more attractive for new players next season when we’ll have to do it again for real. But over the last 15 games we are sitting pretty in 10th in the form table (just one place below yourselves) so I am increasingly confident we will stay up and be able to enjoy actually being at games.
And finally, the game at Xmas was a wild one! What’s your prediction for Saturday?
Our previous meeting was certainly wild! It was and still is the highest scoring game we’ve been involved with this season but despite it being a loss it showed we could tap into the potential we knew we had in the squad and our wing play really clicked for the first time. It could be any score-line but I think it will be another open game, Sam Sherring scoring against his former club in a 2-2 draw!