After the warm-up (quite literally!) match in Portugal last weekend, Fleet’s 2016/17 squad return to Kentish soil for their first pre-season friendly, swiftly followed 22 hours later by another 90 minutes at Princes Park for the Ryan Hayes Testimonial.
The game at Deal Town’s Charles Sports Ground has been designated the “Demelza Cup” in respect of Deal’s chosen charity – the Demelza Hospice Care for Children.
Deal, of the Southern Counties East League (formerly the Kent League), finished ninth in their 2015/16 campaign and will face a strong Fleet side who embark on the first of seven away friendlies before the big kick-off at home to Poole Town.
Daryl McMahon could field up to three trialists while Academy graduates of the likes of Ollie Boulding and Karn Miller-Neave will continue to stake their claim for greater first-team involvement.
Kick-off at Deal is 3pm, with gates opening two hours beforehand. Admission is just £5 adults and £3 concessions with U16s FREE with a paying adult. Fleet Trust coaches leave Stonebridge Road at 1pm and travelling fans may leave their cars at Stonebridge Road.
With the Dartford game taking place the very day after the Deal match, McMahon is expecting to play another strong side for the first 45 minutes of that one. The second half should see former Fleet skipper Paul Lorraine pull on the red shirt once again, while the likes of McMahon himself, Stacy Long, Dean Pooley, Shane Huke and (rumour has it) even 58-year-old Steve Gritt could make an appearance.
Winger Ryan Hayes, now in his 11th year at Dartford, has been rewarded with that rarest of things in the game these days, a testimonial, and the 30-year-old will line up against a host of former Darts favourites which will include former Fleet striker Rob Haworth.
Kent Senior Cup holders Dartford have already got one 90-minute spell under their belts, winning 3-1 at Corinthian, in a game that featured last season’s Fleet skipper Tom Bonner.
Please note the game kicks off at 1pm on Sunday and tickets are available from Princes Park on the day. Admission is £10 adults, £5 children and there is a £25 family ticket available (2x adults, 2x child).