All change again for centre-back pairing

A reminder that this match is an all-pay fixture with no season/mini tickets allowed. Under 12s will pay £1 admission.

Daryl McMahon welcomes back one defender while three sit out this weekend’s Buildbase FA Trophy against Woking, a game the Fleet boss describes as a “free hit” for his side against higher-division opposition.

Yado Mambo is cup-tied while Mark Phillips remains suspended and Louis John is unavailable – but the silver lining is Dave Winfield’s imminent return from his four-match ban. The pressures on his defence were such that McMahon added Mambo to the squad last week when he had just Kenny Clark available as a central defender.

“Yads is a good player and hasn’t achieved all he should have because of his injuries,” McMahon told FleetOnline. “With Mark Phillips and Dave Winfield banned last weekend, Louis John then tweaked his hamstring so we’d have been down to just Kenny Clark as a natural centre half. I thought of Yado instantly. I’ve played with him, he’s a great personality, he’s big and aggressive and another one like Andy Drury who knows the club. He won’t need two games or three weeks to settle in, I knew he’d just slot straight in and do the job and he did just that at Oxford to be fair to him. That’s a big part of the reason I brought Yado in. He’s outgoing and makes himself at home straight away in the nicest possible way.”

Fleet’s other new signing, Andy Drury, also impressed the manager – and the former Ipswich and Luton midfielder is in line for a start against Woking. “Both new signings have settled in quickly,” McMahon said. “Andy Drury had a real impact on the game last weekend, he’s another one I know from playing alongside him and his attitude is first class. We had to move quickly to sign him once we knew he was available or risk losing him to another Kent club.”

Bradley Bubb came off early after starting against Harrow Borough in the previous round and that was why, against his old club Oxford City, he started on the bench. But there’s better news this weekend as he prepares to face another former club. “Bradley got another goal and helped change the game with Drury,” McMahon said. “After his tight hamstring against Harrow he’d only trained a little bit so I didn’t want to risk him last week, but we had to in the end. He’s fully fit again now and in good form.”

Fleet’s other injury concerns are also easing. Darren McQueen should be fit again while Stuart Lewis returned to action ahead of schedule, with a short cameo at Oxford City. But Lewis’s return was a case of necessity according to McMahon.

“We had no-one else, simple as that,” he said. “Stu trained on Thursday really well, so slightly ahead of schedule as he wasn’t really due to do so until the following Monday, so I thought he was able to give us 10 minutes or so. The thing is, it’s great to have him back but we have to rein him in because he’ll run before he can walk! But we really missed him in those two games v Maidenhead and Hampton so his influence is much-needed.”

Woking, 19th in the National League and fresh out of the Emirates FA Cup, represent McMahon’s first test against higher-division opponents, other than when as caretaker manager he guided Fleet to a 1-1 draw against Welling United in this same competition two years ago.

“Garry Hill will have them competitive, he does it every year,” McMahon said. “They have Ugwu up top, and Savaria out wide has scored some great goals. I know Brian Saah the centre-half from Leyton Orient when I was a player, Brandon Hall obviously we know his strengths and Jones in midfield has fantastic energy. It’ll be a real test against a side that will start as favourites but it’s a chance for our players to show where they’re at.”

Despite their precarious position in the National League table, Woking have improved of late and are seventh in the form table, having beaten Maidstone, Bromley and Gateshead in recent weeks. Former Fleet loanee Gozie Ugwu has nine goals in his last six games and having been beaten by Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup last Sunday, they will approach this game with renewed energy.

Midfielder Charlie Carter is out, suspended due to his red card last week, but skipper Kieran Murtagh is in line for a recall. Zak Ansah and Max Kretzschmar are also doubts with knee and shoulder injuries respectively.

Woking don’t have a terribly good record at Stonebridge Road, having not won a single one of their 12 previous visits which began with a tie in this same competition in 1978. And they’ll also be out for revenge for two previous cup-tie defeats when Fleet beat them in the FA Cup in 2008 and again in 2011. Nor do the Cards – Trophy specialists in the Nineties with three wins – have a particularly great record in this competition of late with last season’s run to the quarter-finals the only glimmer of progress in recent years.

A reminder that this match is an all-pay fixture with no season/mini tickets allowed. Under 12s will pay £1 admission.


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First-Team Squad