Holmes has clean bill of health but the boss has the headache

There are selection dilemmas galore for Fleet interim boss Kevin Watson as he welcomes a couple of players back who sat out the game in midweek and he confessed that one or two might even be left in the stands such is the competition for places at present.

Jordan Holmes is back in the squad after his concussion last weekend and Alfie Egan has got over a bout of illness that saw him sidelined in midweek while Watson has further options to ponder up front.

“I could have two very good players who are not even going to be changed and kitted out on Saturday,” Watson said on Thursday, “so that’s the difficult choice. But it makes my job enjoyable too, knowing that I can call on any of them to play.

“Alfie was ill after Sutton and every day through to Tuesday. We didn’t want him sitting on the bus around the lads for six or seven hours so it was best for everyone that he missed out midweek. But he’s OK now and in contention. 

“Jordan’s fine now as well – six days is the protocol for concussion at least  – but he’s in contention for Saturday and that gives me another selection headache.”

And Watson can add his strikers to the equation as well, with Gozie Ugwu currently keeping Josh Umerah out of the starting eleven.

“I’ve got the headache up front too!” he said. “We had a chat midweek and I said to the lads, it’s not Josh’s fault he can’t play on artificial surfaces. He’s been scoring goals but now Gozie’s come in and scored the winner as calm as you like from the penalty spot and had an all-round decent game at Sutton so he stays in up at Chorley.

“He’s repaid me by scoring a couple again the other night and so sometimes you’ve just got to sit and wait your turn. I won’t be one that says you’ve got to come out of the team now. It’s not about names or who you are, it’s about how well you’re playing. And at the minute, touch wood, these boys are playing well.

“It’s always difficult keeping players happy that are not in the team but we’re getting there because they know if they play and start, then they’ll stay in the team. It was a little bit different with Alex Lawless after the Woking game – he’d been out five or six weeks and I didn’t want to play him twice in four days and he understood that. So at Sutton it made it really difficult for me to change the team again. Gozie got the winner for us so he stayed in and as they say, possession is nine tenths of the law and the boys with the shirts need to play well to stay in the team because I’ve got a very talented bunch of lads here at the minute.”

In goal, Harry Palmer deputised for the injured Holmes and Watson said he had no qualms about fielding the former Canvey Island man, despite being offered other options.

“I had numerous phone calls and texts after Saturday,” he revealed. “It’s surprising how many people know your keeper’s injured, and they’re offering me this goalkeeper, that one, they’re keen to get one out on loan as he needs games. The simple fact was I’d seen enough of Harry in training to know I didn’t need another keeper. And he had a terrific debut and kept us in the game in the first half and I’m really pleased for him.”


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