Fleet aim to take advantage of rivals’ inaction

Having grabbed an eight-point lead from the jaws of four points last weekend, Fleet head to Bishop’s Stortford knowing that three more could extend their Vanarama National League South advantage to 11 what with Maidstone and Sutton having blank Saturdays.

As luck would have it, however, Daryl McMahon’s unbeaten travellers are coming up against yet another form team. The Blues have roared into play-off contention of late, their last-minute 1-0 win over Hemel Hempstead Town in midweek taking them to within three points of a play-off place. Rod Stringer’s side, with one of the league’s lowest budgets and certainly a few pre-season predictions of relegation, have moved to second in the form table and are unbeaten since early December.

Fleet are looking for their second double of the season having completed two wins over Basingstoke last week. However, Stortford will likely provide stiffer resistance than back in November when Fleet raced into a 4-0 lead, before the visitors battled back to a more respectable 4-2 finish. The Blues will have to make do without Fleet loanee Robbie Willmott – who supplied the assist for their winner in midweek – as he is unavailable for selection. Skipper Anthony Church went off injured on Tuesday night and boss Stringer is assessing the fitness of another five players.

The home side will also have a new man between the sticks, with Bolton Wanderers loanee Chris Fitzsimons having replaced Tom Lovelock who played at Stonebridge Road. They also boast the goalscoring talents of former Bromley striker Elliott Buchanan, who has just leapfrogged Matt Godden into second place in the league scoring charts, with 16 goals… although he sat out Tuesday night’s win on the bench.

Fleet have no fresh injury worries with Joe Howe once again pressing for a return to the squad though Kenny Clark’s return may be a little way off yet. The weather remains a big factor in this game going ahead, with Stortford’s pitch particularly susceptible to a heavy downpour –so keep your eyes on the forecast!


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