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Maidstone United defender George McLennan feared he would miss comeback match at Barnet as he sat in Dartford Tunnel traffic

By Craig Tucker

George McLennan feared he was going to miss his Maidstone comeback after traffic chaos on the M25 on Saturday.

McLennan was in line to make his first start under Harry Wheeler after Jack Doyle suffered an ankle injury at training.

But his journey to Barnet stalled with the closure of the Dartford Tunnel, leaving the left-back in a race against time.

Maidstone left-back George McLennan in action at Barnet Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone left-back George McLennan in action at Barnet Picture: Steve Terrell

He arrived for the warm-up with moments to spare and had an outstanding game as the Stones won 2-0.

McLennan said: “I was checking my phone and it kept extending the arrival time and I didn’t think I was going to make it for the warm-up.

“I turned up with a minute to go, put on my stuff and I think that might have made it better because you don’t have time to think about it.

“I got a £50 fine for being late but I’m trying to keep that on the low-down.

“To be fair, I don’t mind. I got here. That’s the main thing.

“At one point I was thinking I wasn’t going to make it, so I’ll take the fine.

“My head was gone in the car. I’ve waited so long to get back in the team and I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to make the game or I’ll be so late that they’re going to have to play someone else.’

“I felt good out there. I thought I was going to be unfit but the adrenaline took me through.

“It’s nice because it is hard not being in the side, just training every day knowing there’s nothing at the end of the week for you.”

George McLennan had been out of favour at Maidstone Picture: Sean Aidan
George McLennan had been out of favour at Maidstone Picture: Sean Aidan

McLennan won the National League with Cheltenham in 2016 and looked to be the ideal replacement for Joe Anderson.

But he was dropped three games into the season and started only one more match, at Gateshead in September, when Steve Watt was the caretaker manager.

He kept working hard in training and got his rewards.

McLennan said: “Even though I’ve not been in the team I’ve continued to work hard, just for myself.

“That’s training extra after the session and not letting it get me down being out of the team.

“I just try and work on whatever I can. I know a weakness of mine has been my heading so every day after the session I work on heading, whatever I need to do to better myself.

“At the start of the season I got stuck in a bit of a mindset where my head was down but then I thought I’m going to switch it and just do it for myself.

“I work on my weaknesses and then after I’ve done all my extras I feel like ‘OK, well, I’m still improving even if I’m not playing.’

“I’ve had a strange journey but coming back in, it feels really good. I’ve done it before and I feel I can play at this level.”

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