As 2016/17 enters its penultimate month, Ebbsfleet United sit atop the Vanarama National League South table by that most arbitrary of factors – the alphabet.
When pundits talk of the business end of the season, this is where it begins and Daryl McMahon’s side will be eyeing the three points that the Rocks of East Thurrock United stand in the way of.
Naturally, the Fleet boss isn’t paying much attention to the league table and insists midweek results, which saw Dartford drop points but Chelmsford gain them, only served to underline that there are horses in this race other than ourselves and Maidenhead United. “Chelmsford will fancy they’re in with a chance,” McMahon told FleetOnline. “They play Maidenhead on Monday and can get the gap down to six points so there’s plenty to do and lots that can change between now and the end of the season.”
Hampton & Richmond Borough were the last team to score at Stonebridge Road in the league back in November and while East Thurrock are the draw specialists this season with 12, McMahon thinks they’ll come out to attack.
“From what I’ve watched of them, they’re quite open away from home,” he said. “Sam Higgins is a very good goalscorer, James Walker will nick goals and I like Tom Wraight on the left-hand side, a very good player with a good strike rate. Reece Harris is another attacking wide player so they have the quality to score goals and we’ll have to be alive to that defensively. But we know we can score goals too, we’re at home and it’s down to us.”
Fleet made their first change in five games last week, with Anthony Cook replacing Sean Shields, but a second will be enforced on the manager with Dean Rance (pictured) sitting out the first of a two-match suspension for 10 yellow cards. The midfielder has been involved in every league game this season so slotting in a replacement is new territory for McMahon in 2016/17.
“I know what I’m going to do in terms of replacing Dean,” McMahon said. “But obviously that’s between us and the teamsheet!”