With Daryl McMahon facing the prospect of losing Tom Bonner to suspension for three games over the Christmas period, the Fleet boss confirmed to FleetOnline that the midweek substitution of Anthony Acheampong against Phoenix Sports was “just a precaution”.
“AA took a nasty knock and his eye was swollen. McMahon said. “In that situation, I couldn’t really risk him going down as well what with Tom’s impending suspension in mind so we took him off just as a precaution. We have Anthony and if required Dean Pooley to step in there, but for Anthony especially he has his chance to stake a claim now and he’s been waiting and training very hard for it.”
Bonner’s suspension does not kick in until Boxing Day, so the skipper is likely to retain his place against a Bath City side who have claimed only five points from their last 10 games after a superb start to the season. But with the Romans rested and at full strength for the visit to Stonebridge Road, and having shown signs of a recovery in their defeat at Hayes & Yeading two weeks ago, they might just fancy this game as the time to turn their fortunes around.
Fleet haven’t beaten Bath in our last four attempts in this division and McMahon is wary of the threat carried by the trio of David Pratt, Andy Watkins and Kaid Mohamed. “I expect them to set up as most teams coming here do and they’ll counter us with three very good, attack-minded players. But training has been very good this week and we’re enjoying this challenge as each week goes by.”
McMahon himself got a runout in midweek, playing the second half of the Kent Reliance Senior Cup tie alongside Stacy Long in midfield but is sure to disappoint fans of that vintage line-up!
“I don’t envisage it happening ever again!” he joked. “We finished that game with a right mixed bag – me, Stacy, Dean Pooley. We had a young lad in Charlie Tagg coming in and then the likes of Charlie Sheringham, Jordan Parkes, Alex Osborn. Those players in particular really led the young lads well. They were a credit to the club to play in that scenario – a lot of players can go into a game with a mixed team like that and not take it too seriously but those players really did.
“It was great for me and Stacy from a coaching perspective to get on the pitch and actually play with those young lads, to see on the pitch, alongside them, some of the areas in which they can improve that you don’t really see on the sideline, little positions and movements that they do or don’t pick up on. It was great for those young lads to play against grown men in a proper game.”
The Fleet boss only included himself due to the unavailability of some of the academy players. “It was one of those things where we’ve got Mitch Liddle with a broken leg, Shilow Tracey’s away, we had another midfielder injured and were a little bit light in those areas and I didn’t really want to play any more first-team players in there. Plus Parkesy was only ever due to play a half. So it was nice to get out there, get a sweat on but I think I’m happier in a suit at the minute!”