Meeney looking forward to Watford challenge

Worthing Football Club continue their pre-season preparations on Saturday when they welcome Watford's under-21 side to Woodside Road.

Harvey Sparks in action for Rebels against Thamesmead last Saturday
Harvey Sparks in action for Rebels against Thamesmead last Saturday

The Hornets youngsters are managed by former Australian international Harry Kewell and Rebels joint boss Jon Meeney knows the match will be a good test for his team, before they host Petersfield on Tuesday.

Worthing have won their latest friendlies, 5-2 at home to Thamesmead on Saturday and then 11-1 against local rivals Worthing United on Tuesday, and Meeney said: “Saturday is going to be a great test – it’s going to be competitive and I’m sure it will be a real technical and tactical game.

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“Hopefully there will be a good crowd, good weather and we look forward to welcoming Watford down. I’m looking forward to challenging myself against Harry Kewell and Hayden Mullins but it will be another good, productive work-out for myself, Gary (Elphick; joint manager) and the players.

“We’re coming to the end of phase two of our pre-season preparations and then it will be phase three which includes the preparation leading up to the first league game at Hendon. That’s what we’re gearing up for.”

Harvey Sparks scored twice against Thamesmead on Saturday, before he netted a first-half hat-trick as Rebels retained the Malcolm Gamlen Trophy against Worthing United on Tuesday.

Meeney has been delighted with the form of Sparks so far in pre-season and believes he is a role model to all younger players after coming through Rebels’ set-up following his release from Brighton’s academy.

Meeney said: “He’s shown good desire and will to work at his game since he’s been at Worthing and has really hit the ground running in pre-season.

“He is a role model for young players who maybe don’t get retained by a pro club that then go into a non-league club and work their way up the system, so full credit to him.

“We’ll keep working with him to keep his feet on the floor as it’s only pre-season but he’s given himself the springboard to be successful.”

Zack Newton, with a double, and Will Hendon were also on target against Thamesmead, while Reis Stanislaus, Hendon, Steve Metcalf, Ross Edwards, Brannon O’Neill, Sam Rents and 16-year-old youth-team striker Luke Brodie, with two, netted against Mavericks.

Meeney was delighted to see Stanislaus score a sublime lob – his first goal for the club – after impressing in pre-season so far for Rebels, while youngsters Brodie and Edwards also had promising second-half outings.

Worthing United boss Nigel Geary was disappointined with the final score against Rebels and said: “There wasn’t anything between the teams for the first 20 minutes but they’re quality.

“It was like they had an extra man all over the pitch but if we’re playing a team two or three levels below us, we look the same as well.

“I don’t think we chucked it in at any stage, they’re just a very good side and took their chances.”

Mavericks now meet Mile Oak at Culver Road in Lancing on Saturday (3.30pm) for a cup in memory of Jacob Schilt and Matt Grimstone.

Geary said: “It’s a must-win game for me. I want to win that cup and start to put results like this to bed. I don’t think the performance was that bad but people see 11-1 and that’s all they look at.”

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