Fleet will be keen to avoid their Waterloo tonight as Sutton United and Maidstone United continue to press home their pursuit of top spot. Visitors Havant & Waterlooville may have only won once on the road this season, but they have accrued the same amount of points as the Fleet over the last seven games and toppled Maidstone on Saturday with a late two-goal revival.
Add to that the fact that Lee Bradbury’s relegation battlers should really be nothing of the sort given the quality of their squad and tonight is anything but a formality for the Fleet.
“They’ve got some terrific players,” Daryl McMahon told FleetOnline. “Scott Donnelly in midfield and Matt Paterson are just two naturals at this level. They’re not going to be down where they are for long and we have to make sure that when they do start stringing together the wins, it doesn’t happen here against us.”
Fleet welcome back Danny Kedwell after suspension and with McMahon’s summation of a “lacklustre and lethargic” display on Saturday, the former Gills striker –whose workrate and contribution have been second-to-none this season – is sure to feature.
With suspensions coming up, Joe Howe could get some game time and it remains to be seen whether Kenny Clark will have got enough training sessions under his belt to earn a place on the bench.
While Sutton’s win on Saturday allows them within four points of the Fleet should they win their two games in hand, victory for the home side tonight would put McMahon’s side 13 points clear, albeit having played three games more, which would swing pressure back on the chasing pack.
Since hitting the bottom of the table some weeks back, Havant have only lost one of their last seven games and wins over National League opposition in the FA Trophy this season show they do have the sort of ability that gained them decent odds on a title shout in pre-season. Manager Bradbury has brought in QPR youngsters Aaron Mitchell and James Haran on loan, as well as defender Josh Hill who won the play-offs with Boreham Wood and played alongside Daryl Mcmahon last season. McMahon might also be familiar with the midfield talents of Nic Ciardini from their Farnborough days while the Hawks also have former Burnley veteran Brian Stock in their ranks.
Theo Lewis is injured, but he wouldn’t have been permitted to play against the Fleet tonight in any case.