Chelmsford have already completed a rare double this season, becoming the first side to defeat the Fleet and they are currently the only team to have prevented Daryl McMahon’s men from winning on the road.
Ebbsfleet have a 100% league record on their travels this season, with the goalless draw at The Melbourne Stadium in the FA Cup the only blot on their copybook away from home.
The Clarets will have to channel the dogged resilience that produced those two results if they are to halt Fleet in their tracks.
Having encountered a minor bump in the road, losing in consecutive matches to Chelmsford and Maidstone, Fleet refused to dwell on the reasons why and got back on track with a decent away victory at Gosport last Saturday. That extended their lead at the top once again, two weeks after that gap had been temporarily reduced by Oxford City.
McMahon will need to give thought over whether to keep Danny Haynes in the starting line-up, more so considering it was John Paul Kissock – the catalyst for so much in midfield – who made way last Saturday. One thing’s for sure, it will be a different side to the one that lined up at Chelmsford in the FA Cup when Jonathan Miles, Anthony Acheampong, Adam Cunnington and Michael West got their only starts of the season.
For the home side, they will be without Aiden Palmer and Sean Shields who cannot play because of loan restrictions, while Billy Bricknell is still out with a toe injury. Skipper Mark Hughes, a big influence on City’s younger players, also misses out with a one-match suspension.
New additions to Chelmsford’s side since our last meeting include on-loan Boreham Wood wide man Matty Whichelow who impressed for last season’s play-off winners in our New Year clash and grabbed two goals on his Clarets debut last week. The club has also recruited striker Jordan Brown on loan from West Ham.
Since their win over the Fleet in the FA Cup, Chelmsford went off the boil and were thrashed 4-0 at home by Oxford City and then turfed out of the cup by bottom club Basingstoke 4-2. Shipping eight goals in two games was certainly at odds with the competent defensive display they showed in the two games against the Fleet but the Clarets got back on track last week, exacting revenge on Basingstoke with a 2-1 win.
That puts them within touching distance of a play-off place and they’ll fancy their chances to extend their current head-to-head superiority over the Fleet who will be looking to improve on their own good record at the Melbourne Stadium.