Ebbsfleet United manager Daryl McMahon has spoken of his summer recruitment ahead of Saturday’s opener and how he hopes a blend of winners, wise heads and hungry, talented youngsters can step up to the mark.
The Fleet manager has rebuilt from the back this season and injected what he hopes will be more steel into a side that was guilty one too many times last season of not closing games out.
“I think we’ve brought in decent centre halves,” McMahon said. “Dave Winfield was captain at York last year and player of the year, too. I’m sure for those fans who haven’t seen him yet when he trots out on Saturday, you’ll notice him! He’s 6ft 4, a big lad, very dominant aerially and he can play a bit too. And as I’ve said before, he’s a born leader.
“Mark Phillips is another terrific player. I think he’s been excellent in pre-season on and off the pitch. He’s tremendous in the changing room for us, great experience, a good talker and another good leader. He’s not scared of the challenge and he’s not scared of anything on the pitch either which is important.”
McMahon admitted that some of Fleet’s failings came in letting too many points slip late in games.
“I felt that leadership at the back is something we lacked in the latter part of games at home, we maybe lacked someone organising and stopping teams counter-attacking us late in the game. Sometimes players can do that just with their voice on the pitch, with their authority, calming situations down and killing off games. Bringing two players like that into our defence will help us in those areas – and that’s quite apart from the fact they’re both very good players anyway.”
The Fleet boss has also brought in some youngsters that he thinks have plenty to prove – and the talent to do it.
“Jack Connors I know from my time at Dagenham when I worked there. He’s a good age with fantastic ability. He’s done a year to 18 months at Dagenham and this is an opportunity for him to make a home for himself at a club and he know he needs to crack on with us.
“Reiss Greenidge has had a great pre-season too, so with the young lads from the academy, we have a lot of options in defence and that in turns leads to more options for the team shape as a whole.
Reiss has really come to the fore, he wants to be involved here and he’s come to me and asked not to go on loan because he wants to battle for a place and that’s pleasing to hear for a manager. We’ve got exciting options – Sean Shields can play at wing back or further forward.”
And McMahon is hopeful that another new recruit can bring something to the Fleet that the manager thinks has been lacking in seasons past.
“Jack Powell is a very good player… we’ve probably not had his sort of player here before. He sets off counterattacks, he appreciates the whole game around him, sees the bigger picture and he does it all early.
He releases players early, he brings them into the game quickly, and his one-to-one passing is excellent. He is a player that could really fulfil his potential this season.
“The age factor is important as well with players like him, Darren McQueen and some others in the squad – they’re young and hungry. To have a few of those, where they can really kick on, playing on a platform alongside top, experienced players, is a good blend.”