Fleet’s debutant striker Cody McDonald is determined to repay the faith his new club have shown him by getting up to speed – and quickly – so that he can start scoring the goals that his pedigree in the game clearly suggests he is capable of.
Speaking to BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster after he made his debut from the bench at Maidenhead United, the 32-year-old can’t wait to get started in earnest.
“It’s down to me now to work hard and get myself up to speed because I’m not there at the minute,” he said. “I’ll be working hard on and off the pitch to get myself in a position to give the manager a headache to play at the weekend. I’m here, I’m going to work hard and get myself as fit as possible as quickly as possible to give myself every opportunity to pay back the faith they’re giving me.”
McDonald has been out of the game for a few months after departing AFC Wimbledon in the summer and he admits he still has a little bit of work to do to gain full match fitness.
“I was confident in myself that I’d get the opportunity again even while off,” he said. “I was trying to keep on top of [my fitness] as much as I can. Going to the gym as much as you want can’t replicate being out on the pitch. It’s the match fitness that I need to work on. I’ve worked hard on trying to keep the weight off which is easy to do at my age. I could probably still lose a few pounds and that will make me a little bit quicker at my age.”
McDonald, who will spend tomorrow’s squad day off working further on his fitness in some gym and exercise sessions, has been training with the Fleet for almost a week having been approached by the management team about a possible opportunity at the club.
“I got a phone call about a week ago asking if I’d like to come in and train,” the Chelmsford-based striker revealed. “I’d been out of the game for a little while so they wanted to check how my fitness is. I’ve come in and trained, really enjoyed it and after a couple of days the gaffer and Ian Hendon said we could sort something out. It’s moved on very quickly from when I first came in training but that’s the way I wanted it. I wanted to get back in the game as soon as possible and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m a family man, I didn’t want to move away. I had a few offers to go up north but I’m not happy to move away from my family, My boys are 10 and 12, they’re too old to be moving about so I had a little bit of a gamble and hoped a team more local would come up and thankfully Ebbsfleet have come in and given me that opportunity.”
McDonald links up once more with Hendon, Jack Payne, Danny Kedwell and Myles Weston from his Gillingham days and the familiarity has made the transition to a new club easier.
“Sometimes in football you come across people and you don’t cross each other’s paths again,” he said. “But to come here and see them all again is really nice. In that respect, it’s nice to come into a changing room where you know people and all the lads have been great as well and it’s been really good over the last week to be in and around the place.”
Of his 10-minute debut cameo, McDonald felt his side earned a solid point but he believes there’s much more to come from him and he’s aiming to fire home the chances he knows his teammates can and will create.
“It’s maybe not the easiest game to come on in,” McDonald said. “In the second half, they put us under a little pressure after they scored the goal and you’re sitting on the bench wondering if you’re going to get on or not. I really enjoyed it tonight and it was nice be around the lads, they made me feel really welcome. In the end, I think it’s a decent point.
“I watched a few of the clips of the last couple of games. I wanted to learn about my teammates and the chances they’re creating and the movements and the team I’m playing in. I’ve seen a lot of that in the last couple of game highlights, I’ve seen balls flashing across the box which is my sort of game, getting in on the end of things and toe-poking things in. I’m sure once I get up to speed I’ll get on the end of a few of them.”