Jamie Day, Jamie Turner and Danny Kedwell are reunited with their former Welling manager Adrian Pennock (pictured) on Saturday as Conference play-off challengers Forest Green Rovers come to town.
The trio played under Pennock 10 years ago and Fleet boss Day has a lot of respect for his former manager. “I like the way Ady works and what he’s done in management,” Day told FleetOnline. “They’re going well in the league above and this will serve as a gauge as to where we are and where we want to be.”
Pennock, a former Fleet player and assistant manager, is equally respectful of his opposite number and knows new signing Kedwell will be a threat for his higher-placed side. “Maybe Danny wasn’t starting as many games as he would have liked but I still see him as a League One player,” Pennock told his local press. “He was brilliant at Welling after I signed him from Herne Bay, scoring 50-odd goals in two seasons, and he should really be playing at a higher level. We’ll have our work cut out against him but it will be great to see him and I genuinely wish him well – after this tie of course.”
Day is still running the rule over and continuing negotiations with potential targets that include a defender but warned his new players will have to bed in “sooner rather than later” as Fleet seek to improve on their current league position. “We haven’t got the time for players to bed in and get used to things and that’s why it’s important these players have non-league experience so they know what they’ll be coming up against.
“But the Trophy game is timely and it’s a good chance for the new boys to get a game together if they play. It’s a good competition and it would be brilliant to get as far as we can.”
Similar in many ways to the Fleet, Forest Green are attempting to achieve the same promotion goal in the division above with serious backing from their owner, Dale Vince. After three seasons of successive 10th place finishes, Rovers seem to have the bit between their teeth in this campaign and but for a three-point deduction, they would be well inside the play-off places and within sight of second-placed local rivals Bristol Rovers.
They have already faced a Jamie Day-led team once this season, drawing 1-1 with Welling at Park View Road and only last week defeated the Jody Brown-managed Wings 4-1 at the New Lawn.
They overcame Didcot Town in a replay in the previous round, with their lower league opposition coming back from 2-0 down to earn a replay in the first game. In the FA Cup, a win over Gloucester City produced a first round tie that Rovers lost to Scunthorpe.
Experienced players of the quality of Lee Hughes, Jon Parkin, Kurtis Guthrie (who played for Welling under Day last season) and James Norwood, who scored on his last visit to Stonebridge Road, carry the visitors’ goal threat – not to mention ex-Fleet favourite Magno Vieira though he has found game time hard to come by.
It will be hard to miss Rovers’ back line, too, with Luke Oliver standing 6ft 7in tall while in midfield Rob Sinclair and Elliott Frear will be no stranger to new Fleet signing Theo Lewis with all three having figured for Salisbury last season.
The visitors have re-signed their former goal machine Stuart Fleetwood on loan from Eastleigh while the impressive Charlie Clough has arrived from Sutton, but both players are cup-tied and won’t feature tomorrow. International clearance is being sought on another new signing, attacking midfielder Corby Moore.
Forest Green won on their last visit to north Kent, 2-0, and have won their last three meetings with the Fleet to take them to seven wins against our six in head-to-head encounters. Now would be a good time to see that statistic evened up…