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“I’m looking long term” – Fleet boss plans beyond the here and now

Daryl McMahon felt his side enjoyed the better chances in their goalless draw at Aldershot Town and said talk of new signings shouldn’t overshadow the performance of his players at the EBB Stadium.

“We probably just lacked the goal that I thought we deserved,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “We played some terrific stuff against an excellent team and I thought it was a really good game of football. I’m sure both sets of fans will have enjoyed the match, there was lots of good football played from both teams.”

Pressed on whether the club was looking to strengthen in the post-Christmas period, the Fleet boss said it wasn’t for the want of trying but that he wouldn’t be panicked into recruiting the wrong people.

“Goalposts move hourly,” he said, “so you think you’ve got someone done and it doesn’t happen. We’ll keep trying and on the phone and see what we can get but I don’t want to talk too much about bringing players in when the boys put that terrific performance in today. And the fans as well, what a great turnout today again.”

McMahon confirmed that the James Alabi transfer saga was over from the Fleet’s point of view and that he has moved on to other targets – but says some of the financial expectations of agents, clubs and players is unrealistic.

“There’s a lot said about us and money, etc, that we’ve got extortionate amounts which we don’t actually have,” he clarified. “Tuesday night I had Aaron McLean who’s a coach really on the pitch and Michael Jordan as sub goalie, two members of staff in the 16. People are asking for silly money that we’re not going to do. I’m not going to do it, I want the right people at the club for the right reasons and if it costs a couple of games along the way, so be it. I want to build the club, I’ve signed a five-year contract in the summer, I’m looking long-term and for the right people at this club.

“I think we need one, maybe two in [forward] positions, it’s a taxing position, the hardest position to play on the pitch and to score goals. We probably need something else to freshen it up a little bit. Bubb’s also off the back of a six-month injury. If we can’t, we can’t, and we’ll go with what we’ve got. We’ve got good players and we’ll still win games but it would be nice to bring some fresh blood in.

“We’re using the same people week in, week out. Winfield, Payne, they’re playing themselves fit through games which is not ideal. Keds is 34, Drury 34, playing every minute of every game. Lawrie’s come in and not played competitive games since September so recovery is going to be important and I’m delighted we’ve got a week off.

“Coulson was excellent today and that’s the level he can hit and he’ll score goals. His movement and his runs in behind today were terrific, and Lawrie Wilson’s as well. I think [Aldershot] will be happy with a point. We had numerous good chances, they had a couple of shots, but we got in behind their back line on a few occasions.”

The Aldershot performance will certainly improve the mood in the Fleet training camp this coming week and McMahon will make full use of the time, not having a Tuesday game for the first week in some time.

“Warrington was poor, there’s no doubt about it,” the manager said. “But we’ve had 10 games in four and a half weeks, whatever it is, with the same players. Tiredness creeps in in certain games, even mental tiredness, it might not be physical. Then when you come to Aldershot, nice pitch, good team, you’re a little bit fresher all of a sudden and you put a better performance on. Doing it week in, week out, is going to be the key.

“Everyone who came on to the pitch today impacted the game for us how we wanted them to. We just need now to be more consistent. I’ve said it a number of times that we’ve shown we can compete comfortably. It’s just now being more consistent and taking our chances.”

Fleet dropped a place to 11th, four points from the play-offs, with some of the top seven consolidating their position. McMahon is adamant his side will continue to strive for that top seven place but he believes his players shouldn’t be under any pressure to do so.

“It’s an unrealistic expectation for us, we’ve just come into the division,” he said. “I’ve asked us to be competitive, we are. And we’ll try and finish as high as we can. I think when you look at the sides behind and below us, there’s much bigger clubs that have been in the league a lot longer. I’m not in a rush. It’s not that I don’t want to get in there, I want to if we can, but I don’t think there’s any pressure on us. I think we go, play, perform, get the right people in and keep the right people and build the club. I want to kick the club on but it’s key we get the right people. Hopefully we can keep that level of performance and get better.”


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