Fleet boss Steve Brown is hoping to use his players’ recent disappointments to focus on the task ahead against Havant & Waterlooville in Saturday’s FA Trophy tie. “I know our players are hurting from the last two losses and will be wanting to get back to winning ways this Saturday,” Brown told FleetOnline. “It’s a big game for both clubs and a great opportunity to progress into the last eight of the Trophy and that combined with our eagerness to put recent results behind us is a major motivator.”
“Havant are on a good run of form and have the home advantage but we will have great support and there should be a great atmosphere to make for a cracking cup tie,” Brown added. “The conditions will have made the pitch heavy and those conditions will play a part on the day but we have managed to get two training sessions on this week and on Tuesday the players looked in good shape and trained at a high tempo. Everyone barring Shane Huke is fit and available and I now have Michael West to pick from as well.
“Let’s hope the weather is kind and we can play this Saturday. The last thing both clubs want is a midweek fixture.”
Fleet drew 0-0 with Havant at Stonebridge Road in the first game of the season and back then Brown tipped the south coast side as potential dark horses in Skrill South. Since that meeting, after an indifferent start, the Hawks are pushing their way up the league and sit one place above the Fleet in the form lists. While they sit slap bang in mid-table in Skrill South, they are only six points off a play-off place with a game in hand and an eye for goal that has seen them score 13 in four games.
The striker behind much of that statistic is dangerman Sahr Kabba whose nine goals this season have already equalled his entire total for 2012-13. The blossoming frontman is getting back to the sort of form that saw him net 16 goals in 19 games for Weston-super-Mare despite an injury-ravaged season.
Behind him, former Fleet loanee and Gillingham striker Denis Oli is on four goals while at the other end of the pitch is custodian Scott Bevan – a 6ft 7in veteran whose former clubs include Huddersfield, MK Dons, Torquay and Bristol Rovers. Fleet fans might remember him for a spell at Kidderminster, including one game at Stonebridge Road where he single-handedly shut out a Fleet forward line that spent 90 minutes peppering his goal with shots.
And another one to watch is wide man Christian Nanetti whose hairstyle (pictured above) and flair play caught the eye back at Stonebridge Road in August.
Havant’s Trophy run this season should serve as a warning for the Fleet – the Hawks like to prey on Skrill South sides, having beaten Sutton, Basingstoke and Whitehawk on their way to Round 3.
Fleet’s only previous meeting with Havant in the Trophy came in 2006, a 2-1 win on the south coast aided by none other than Stacy Long’s late winner.