Ebbsfleet United’s player of the year Kenny Clark is determined to put last season’s disappointment behind him as he turns his attention to Saturday’s final against his former club, Chelmsford City.
Alongside Anthony Cook, Yado Mambo and Sean Shields, Clark is one of four former Clarets lining up on the opposite side – while Jack Powell had a trial at the Melbourne Stadium in the summer – and Saturday’s goalscorer says memories of last year spur him on this time around.
“For me, last year is probably one of the worst parts of my career,” Clark told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole. “Getting so close, touching distance and then failing. So that’s definitely in the forefront of my mind and I don’t want that feeling again. The boys who were there last season are the same and I’m sure the boys we’ve got at the moment will want to succeed so I’m sure we’ll do it.”
While the Romford-based player has missed out on a game against previous club Dartford, he’s aware that a Kent v Essex match is just as likely to be a fiery occasion. “A Kent derby gives it that extra little bit of spice, but Chelmsford are going to bring their game and it’s going to be Essex versus Kent which is just as bad, so either team would have been competition in the final. We’ve just got to continue what we’re doing. I’ve spoken to one of my family who said it was so physical at Dartford-Chelmsford. That’s what both teams are about so once again we’re going to have to stand up and fingers crossed we come out and get what we’ve been going for this whole season which is promotion.
“I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere. They always bring a great crowd at Chelmsford, they’ve got a good following. And our fans this season have been fantastic and we’re going to need them again next week, exactly how they’ve been supporting us all year.”
Clark weighed in with another goal on Saturday, having also scored in last season’s semi-final second leg, and on the subject of repeats, he also managed one against Chelmsford in January. But the defender thinks he might not be needed at the other end with Fleet’s strikers getting back to fitness.
“Darren’s pace is absolutely electrifying and hats off to Aaron,” Clark said. “He’s just come back from his knee injury and what he’s done, the Maidenhead game and in the play-offs for us is incredible and to bring on fresh legs, someone like Dazza, is just another tool in your armoury. And anyone who plays up top, with Keds coming back as well, it’s only looking strong for us going forward into the final.
“Everyone’s behind each other even if you’re on the bench or you’re in the stand, everyone’s fighting for each other, we’re all going in the same direction. Its really good, really strong this season, and that’s a lot to do with why we’re on this run.”