Smith and Eribenne stake claims for return

Ebbsfleet United central defender James Smith and striker Chukki Eribenne are knocking on the door for a return to first-team action.

Fleet defender James Smith, who has been sidelined for more than a month following a double hernia operation, is back in action and staking a claim for a return to the first-team squad. Smith completed his first full training session this week and is quoted by Fleet physio Paul Wilson as “very close” to a return. Striker Chukki Eribenne, who limped off with a hamstring injury in the 1-0 victory over Crawley, also hopes to feature in a full training session by the end of the week. Having stepped up the final stages of his rehab programme with jogging and a workout on a rehab strength circuit, he is on course to feature in Liam Daish’s plans once again. Long-term injury victim Gary MacDonald is also back on his feet, having begun a light jogging programme to tie in with the early stages of his rehabilitation.

The news isn’t quite so good for Danny Slatter who has suffered a slight setback in his recovery process and now has a suspected cartilage tear around his knee. He will need the same keyhole surgery that Mark Ricketts underwent on his knee recently. This will keep the former Welling midfielder sidelined for at least another two to three weeks.

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