Unbeaten at home and in the last six league games, Fleet come up against a Truro City side desperate to put right their wrongs of recent weeks in a situation they’ll view as having nothing to lose. A 5-0 loss at St Albans City last weekend was the latest in a run of results that has seen Truro concede 36 goals this season – the joint worst record in the division.
But Fleet boss Daryl McMahon doesn’t expect the White Tigers to simply turn up and roll over. “We know they’ll come here, like any team that’s just been on the end of a big score, looking to be tight, defensive, resilient and prove something,” McMahon told FleetOnline. “We’ll have to try and break that down. We won’t do anything different, we’ll keep to the levels we’ve played to at home in the last six or seven weeks. Truro have some threats in their team and they’ll be looking to put last week behind them, but we can only worry about ourselves. We’re on a decent run and that’s what we have to maintain.”
Fleet are expected to welcome back Marvin McCoy to the squad after he was sidelined with a sickness bug last week, allowing Kenny Clark to come straight back into the side after his recent lay-off. Aside from long-term casualty Aaron McLean, the only other player on the missing list is Stuart Lewis who had a scan on his ankle injury, an ongoing complaint the Fleet are keen to get to the bottom of.
“Stu’s ankle has been niggling since pre-season,” McMahon said. “He’s been out twice and broken down too many times and now we need to get it sorted, otherwise he’s going to be playing at 60-70% and being in and out of the side. We need a time out for him and a specialist to find out exactly what it is, how we make it better and then get him out there playing at 100%. Whether that takes a few weeks, a month, at least when he comes back he’ll be at the level I want him at.”
Truro manager Lee Hodges, who replaced Steve Tully in the summer, told his club’s website: “It’s crazy but for 50-odd minutes at St. Albans, I was pleased with our performance. We were on the front foot, positive and unlucky not to have scored. Even at 2-0 down, we stayed in the game and had belief. It was the reaction after they scored their third that I did not like. Our heads dropped and we didn’t stick to the game plan.”
Hodges’ side have shown glimpses of last season’s play-off run, with decent draws against Chelmsford, Eastbourne, away at Hampton and a win at Wealdstone. But all too often they have conceded goals easily and on top of the 5-0 defeat to St Albans, they also crashed by the same score at home to Dartford, fell 6-0 to East Thurrock and were dumped out of the FA Cup by Winchester City to the tune of 4-0.
Truro lost winger and top scorer Isaac Vassell to Luton Town in the summer, along with a number of other core squad members, but replacements in the summer have plenty of experience. Assistant manager and striker Rory Fallon, who has captained his country, is one of three New Zealanders in the squad, including the wonderfully named central defender Erik Panzer!
Winger Niall Thompson is the current top scorer with five goals while Andrew Neal arrived from Bodmin Town, having scored 60 goals in 44 matches. Recent acquisitions have included on-loan forward Louis Rooney from Plymouth Argyle, central defender Jack Smith on loan from Eastleigh and the experienced Chris Todd, the former Eastleigh manager, who played against Fleet in the 2008 FA Trophy Final at Wembley.
Todd is a doubt, having departed the St Albans game with an injury, while influential midfielder Cody Cooke has also been sidelined in recent weeks.
This will be Truro’s second visit to Stonebridge Road, the first having resulted in a 0-0 stalemate back in January when Fleet were frustrated in their attempts to break the then in-form Cornish side down. That scenario is what McMahon will be hoping to avoid as he expects Truro to travel with a damage-limitation exercise in mind and a hope to damage Fleet on the counterattack.