Fleet will need to defeat two opponents this weekend with Storm Dennis aiming to blow all hopes of a meeting with Chorley out of the water.
It’s certainly a case of the calm before the storm as a quiet Friday weather-wise is expected to give way in the morning hours of Saturday to the unwelcome visitor from the North Atlantic.
But preparations continued apace nonetheless at Fleet’s training ground this week as Kevin Watson and his players seek to eradicate the after effects both physically and mentally of the Royston Town defeat.
“Chorley are no mugs,” said Watson, “and we’ll prepare every day we’re in. We won 4-0 up there but I’m not stupid enough not to know we could have been two or three-nil down before we even scored. We went in at 2-0 at half-time which made the game a little bit comfortable. So if you think it’s going to be easy, you’re going to come unstuck.”
Should the Kuflink Stadium pitch manage to beat the weather, Watson has Josh Payne (pictured) and Adam Mekki to call upon again in midfield, with Payne’s central role allowing Bromley loanee Mekki to deploy to his more favoured wide position.
The club is still awaiting the lifting of a transfer embargo from the league so Michael Timlin’s debut isn’t likely to be on home soil.
Chorley arrive with their own selection problems, new loan signing from Bolton Wanderers, Connor Hall, having enjoyed something of a mixed weekend in their last game. He scored at Yeovil, only to be dismissed with a second yellow card, and is suspended.
Fellow striker Marcus Carver returns from his own suspension but there are injury doubts for Oldham loanee Kielen Adams and midfielder Martin Smith. Skipper Andy Teague also sat out the last game.
Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio has been able to unearth more firepower in the last week with the addition of Doncaster Rovers frontman Alex Kiwomya on loan. He joins other recent new recruits including defender Scott Duxbury from AFC Fylde and experienced utility man Antony Kay who has featured in 600+ Football League games over the past 20 years.
The Magpies have drawn three and lost six of their last nine games, though they showed in the period after their 4-0 defeat to the Fleet that they are more than capable of picking up points. They beat Chesterfield, Torquay and Dagenham & Redbridge in quick succession, mixed in with a 2-2 draw at league leaders Barrow, and before that dug out four goalless draws in a row.
Certainly, they will be harder to break down than earlier in the season when they suffered 4-1, 5-1 and 6-1 reverses and a 1-1 draw most recently at title contenders Yeovil showed signs they’re refusing to accept the fates of an immediate return to the National North.
With even three points for Chorley not enough to lift them off the foot of the table above us, this is arguably a must-win game for them more so than for the Fleet. A draw is not much use to either side and if Dennis doesn’t weave a path of destruction in the skies overhead prior to kick-off, it could be a stormy affair that follows.
The match is not segregated and Chorley fans may use the club bar by the turnstiles. Car-parking is available at Ebbsfleet International Station Car Park C for £3. This is the best option for parking near the stadium. Please respect local businesses by not blocking private property. Drivers are also warned that parking on the Thames Way clearway near the roundabout runs the risk of being ticketed.