Life on the road will present another challenge for the Fleet this weekend as a trip to Vanarama National League leaders Solihull Moors follows hot on the heels of a 1-0 defeat at title favourites AFC Fylde.
The top v bottom clash won’t find many pundits backing the Fleet to get anything out of the trip to the SportNation.bet Stadium but Garry Hill will use that to focus his players after the disappointing midweek reverse at home to Yeovil Town.
He hinted at confidence being a factor in the Yeovil defeat but uppermost in his post-match analysis was a need to eradicate the leaking of goals – a requirement he said had to come from the team as a whole and not just his back line. Goals have come cheap for the opposition in three of Fleet’s four games so far this season and that’s what Hill is determined to stamp out.
“You defend as a team, you take responsibility as a team,” he said. “I don’t look at Yeovil’s goals and say you can’t do much about that. We’re conceding cheap goals at the moment and that doesn’t tell lies.”
Another stat the boss won’t need reminding of is Solihull being the only side to reach double figures so far in goals scored and Fleet being the only club to concede that many.
Alex Lawless sat out Tuesday’s game with a hamstring injury but he was the only casualty ahead of Yeovil’s visit. Brandon Thomas-Asante has looked bright in coming on but Hill is likely to stick with Josh Umerah who is still gaining match fitness but looked sharp on the ball in his two previous outings. Bondz N’Gala is another option for change should the manager look to tweak his setup.
The players were in for training on their day off on Wednesday and that’s a situation the boss suggested could continue until he feels his side are up to the standards he has set.
Naturally, Solihull will go into this one eager to sweep up the three points. The contrast to Fleet’s first meeting with the Moors two years ago couldn’t be sharper, with the visitors on a healthy budget and winning 3-1 against a lowly, struggling Solihull side.
Now the roles are reversed with Moors able to summon a club record fee for defender Callum Howe and sharpen their attacking options with Eastleigh’s Paul McCallum who has four goals to his name already. And that’s not to mention his strike partner, the tall Nathan Blissett who has four as well.
Influential midfielder Jamey Osborne has two goals and former Cheltenham striker Danny Wright is available from the bench as well. Other than Howe, McCallum and former Macclesfield title winner Mitch Hancox, the Moors side is largely unchanged from the one that beat the Fleet 1-0 in our bad-tempered previous meeting at the Kuflink Stadium.
Solihull (along with Bromley, AFC Fylde and Sutton United) are one of only four undefeated sides in the division and have dropped points only in their opening-day draw at Harrogate. They also put three past Torquay without reply and edged out Aldershot Town 2-1.
Boss Tim Flowers said, “Ebbsfleet are a big and powerful side. They’ve recruited heavily – they’ve brought a lot of players in over the summer. There’s a lot of Football League experience when you look through their squad. It’ll be a tough, tough game.
“We’ll do our due diligence and put a team out to try and win the football match.”
Advance tickets for the Solihull match can be bought here.