Two years ago this month, Ebbsfleet United star Jack Powell played in front of 24,000 people for Millwall against Wolves at Molineux but he reckons Saturday’s game will be his greatest challenge yet because the stakes are higher.
“I played in the Championship when I was 19,” Powell told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole, “but in terms of what it means, this is definitely the biggest game. I played in front of some big crowds but in terms of getting promotion, this is the biggest.”
Powell’s grounding at Millwall meant he was much in demand on leaving the London club last summer and if things had turned out differently, the midfielder could well have been lining up against the Fleet on Saturday.
“It’s a weird one because I was training at Chelmsford as the season started,” Powell said. “I’ve come to Ebbsfleet and now we’re back facing them again. So it will be an interesting one. I know a few of their players and the management as well so it’s strange that it’s worked out that way but I’m sure it’ll be a good game and we’re just looking to finish the job. There’s a little bit of an edge to it, like any final you’re going to give 110% and with a little bit added extra.”
Like many of his teammates, Powell has mentioned the Kidderminster defeat as a turning point for the squad, though he’s adamant that the side have played well throughout most of the season and not just since that downbeat FA Trophy exit.
“A few of the lads have mentioned Kidderminster away when we got beat 3-0,” Powell agreed. “It was not so much a turning point because we were in some good form before that anyway in the league. We’ve won a lot of games all season so obviously this unbeaten run now is just doing the basics right. We went to a 4-4-2 and everyone just knew their job and we’ve got the quality in the team to score goals and the quality to keep teams from scoring. So I think it was just a matter of time before we went on a run.”
While fans may be feeling some pre-match nerves in the build-up, Powell – who has scored 13 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions this season – can’t wait to get back on duty for the last time this season.
“I’m excited. How can you not want to be in this sort of situation? We would have loved to have won the league obviously, it didn’t happen. But now we’ve got a second bite of the cherry.
“Our fans have been brilliant all season, especially at home and we’ve treated them to some good results. Our home form is incredible so that’s definitely a big positive for us to be at home on our pitch where we can get the ball down and play. And they’ll come here and try and spoil it, they’ll have good backing. They had very very good support when we went away and they’re a loud crowd and tried to suck the ball into the goal. I’m sure our fans won’t let them do that here so that’s to our benefit.”