bath

Bath time for the Fleet

Still unbeaten away from home, Fleet will seek to harness that particular record as they go in search of another vital three points, this time at Bath City – and exact a measure of revenge for City’s last-minute victory at Stonebridge Road just before Christmas.

With Tom Bonner and Anthony Cook beginning their suspensions, while Matt Fish sits out the last of his, Daryl McMahon is set to start Kenny Clark for the first time since 7th January in a back four that includes the recently restored Joe Howe.

With Matt Godden’s hamstring injury initially thought to be serious enough only to cause his absence at Maidenhead in midweek, McMahon will need to give some thought as to whether he slots back in ahead of Sam Deering if fit.

Fleet goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore will know more than most about the opposition on Saturday, having produced an heroic performance in his last game for Gosport to shut out Bath recently, Borough edging that one by a single goal.

While Fleet’s overall form has allowed the chasing pack to close the gap, the side are second in the away table over the last eight games and are unbeaten in all of their last nine games.

Bath, by contrast, have been gradually heading the other way since they led the division in the early weeks. Currently 17th and just three points above the drop zone, their form saw the departure of head coach Lee Howells to be replaced by former Romans boss Gary Owers. He has certainly made Bath much harder to beat, having lost one of his six games in charge, and they will be harder to break down. However, Bath have won just two of their previous eight home games, the other six all defeats, to leave them perilously close to the trap door.

They will take heart from the fact that Twerton Park isn’t a particularly happy hunting ground for the Fleet in recent years but will have to really turn the form book upside down to get the points they so desperately need. Neither side will need much reminding, however, of how they did just that at Stonebridge Road earlier this season. The hero that day and Bath’s man of the match, Kaid Mohamed, has since departed for Eastleigh so that is one less worry for the Fleet at least.

Bath’s forward line has been misfiring in recent weeks and boss Owers is eyeing a potential signing in that department before Saturday. He can call on Liam Kelly, on loan from Reading, while Cheltenham striker Eliot Richards is another loan option. Veteran strikers David Pratt and Andy Watkins are also more than capable of finding the back of the net again soon.

Full-back Danny Greenslade from Bristol Rovers has extended his loan period and midfielder Billy Murphy, the Bristol City U21 captain, is another new addition since last the clubs met.

 

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