Summer signing Matt Godden reports for action at the weekend knowing this coming season is a pivotal one for both himself and his new club – and he has set himself a twin target of promotion and a respectable goals return.
“I always have a target of where I’d like to be,” Godden told FleetOnline. “It’s just nice knowing that after scoring 11 goals in 16 games at Dartford and Tamworth last season that I will hopefully get a full season playing football and scoring goals. If that’s the case then I’d like to hit the 30-plus mark. The main target is gaining promotion though as a team. That would better everything.”
And the man whose previous exploits in a Fleet shirt will likely have fans expecting a lot of goals is not at all fazed by that idea. “No, I don’t really think I’ll feel the pressure. I understand what I need to do and have confidence in myself to produce it.”
Having spent five years with Scunthorpe United – including numerous loan spells at Brigg Town, Ilkeston Town, Gainsborough Trinity, the Fleet, Dartford and Tamworth – Godden is in uncharted territory as he looks ahead to a full season of expected first-team football at a club where he can finally settle down.
“That was a big factor in me coming back to Ebbsfleet. At my age I need and wanted to be playing first-team football week in, week out. I didn’t feel like Scunthorpe was the place for me to do that. The club and I both agreed after a while that it would be in my best interest to move on to play.”
And signing for the Fleet was always top of Godden’s priorities – despite being offered a new contract at newly-promoted Scunthorpe in League One. “I didn’t really have to weigh up the contract offer. I knew from the moment they offered me a deal that it wasn’t right for me. I’ve always been honest to myself and my managers so I had a chat with Russ Wilcox at Scunthorpe and explained that I wanted to play and show people what I’m about. That wasn’t going to happen at Scunthorpe and having the chance to join back up with the Fleet was something I jumped at. I’ve always said it’s a club that’s going places and that is something I want to be part of.”
The 22-year-old Kent-born striker has kept himself in shape over the close season and aims to hit the ground running in what will no doubt be an intensive month or so of training. “I’ve been keeping myself really fit to be honest,” he said. “Ever since the last game of the season I’ve been in the gym and going running. It’s just become a habit really. But equally I understand we need to give our bodies some time to recover so I spent 10 days of my holiday abroad doing nothing. I play a lot of golf, too, so spent a lot of time on the course.
“In the close season I’ve got my own routine that I stick to every day, other than at weekends. I go for a run in the morning, that’s a couple of miles, just to keep myself ticking over and then a weights session at the gym at night.”
Godden is looking forward to getting going again as he and the squad assemble at Fleet’s training ground, though he claims he won’t feel like the new boy. “I watched two or three games last season. I know Preston Edwards and Joe Howe and a few of the boys already – from my time at Scunthorpe with Ben May and also Kenny Clark at Dartford – so I’m really looking forward to meeting all of them on Saturday. I haven’t been to the new training ground yet but from what I’ve heard it sounds pretty impressive.
“August 9th can’t come quick enough as far as I’m concerned.”