Letting the new lads off the leash

With four new signings added in the past 10 days, Garry Hill is determined to stamp out the errors that have plagued the Fleet’s start to the season.

And Jordan Holmes, Tyler Cordner, Botti Biabi and Alex Reid could all have a good call to start together ahead of the visit to high-flying Dover Athletic at Crabble.

Holmes, of course, has already embedded himself in the Fleet goal but Reid and Biabi drew praise from both managers on Saturday after they were introduced to help spark a Fleet revival that was ultimately too little, too late.

Cordner’s introduction, like Reid on a six-month loan deal, demonstrates a measure of faith in their abilities by the Fleet manager who has been careful in handing out long-term contracts.

It’s a return to Crabble for many of the Fleet back line, with Aswad Thomas, Jamie Grimes, Ayo Obileye and Bondz N’Gala all having featured for the Whites previously, while assistant manager Ian Hendon was briefly in charge there before moving on to Gillingham.

There are no ex-Fleet faces in the Dover squad, though midfielder Jai Reason trialled at Stonebridge Road a few summers ago.

And Dover, who moved into fifth place courtesy of extending their 100% away record at Harrogate on Saturday, are desperate to reverse their indifferent home form, with one win and three defeats at Crabble so far this campaign.

That solitary win came against Wrexham, while Dagenham, Torquay United and Woking have all come away from east Kent with maximum points.

The player who scored both goals in that win over Wrexham – Ricky Modeste – will be missing tonight as he is on international duty with Grenada, something Fleet fans won’t be too sorry about given his past performances against us.

Another missing face is Kurtis Cumberbatch who has received a four-match ban following his sending-off against Woking.

Alfie Pavey is undoubtedly a danger and his goal last April at the Kuflink Stadium robbed Fleet of three points and crushed any lingering hopes of a second play-off qualification.

Pavey got off the mark on the opening day of the season but hasn’t found the net since, with Inih Effiong’s five goals suggesting he’s rediscovering the form he enjoyed at Woking after a relatively quiet first season at Crabble in 2018/19.

Like the Fleet, Dover recruited heavily in the summer and only Reason, Effiong, Lee Worgan, Josh Passley and Kevin Lokko are likely to start of the players who appeared back in April.

New signings include striker Steven Rigg (Gateshead); midfielders Nassim L’Ghoul (Welling United), Michael Woods (Harrogate Town), Oscar Gobern (Eastleigh) and Jack Munns (Dagenham); plus ex-Maidstone defender Will de Havilland.

This is Dover’s first Kent derby of the season, while Fleet will need no reminding of their opening one this season, going down 3-1 at Bromley.

Last season’s clash at Crabble was a fairly underwhelming 1-1 draw, the second such result in successive seasons. Indeed Fleet have only ever won once in a league game at Dover in the past (2011)… and now would be as good a time as any to reverse that unwelcome piece of history.


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Ed Miller

Ed Miller

Ed Miller has been Ebbsfleet United's communications manager and programme editor since 2014 and responsible for the club website since 2007. Contact him on

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First-Team Squad