Payne: “We’re building and only looking up…”
Payne: “We’re building and only looking up…”

Fleet midfielder Jack Payne was instrumental in downing the club he played for on loan earlier this season and says his side are gaining a head of steam going into 2019.

“I think the fans can appreciate the work we’re doing and the momentum we’re building and we’re only looking up,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole. “You can see [from] the league table how much we’ve climbed so far since the gaffer’s come in and the run speaks for itself. The home form can be massive, we’ve got some big teams coming back down here soon so we need to make sure we carry that on.”

Payne supplied the inch-perfect pass for Corey Whitely’s goal and he thinks the players around him are clicking as they dance to Garry Hill’s tune.

“It’s nice getting an assist,” he said. “I should have a few more but hopefully that can start now. We knew they were a big side, we had to physically be at it today. I think we might have bullied them a bit early on and nicked the goals and that was it. We’ve got a way of playing. Everyone’s bought into it and everyone knows what they’re doing, where they’re meant to be. I think it’s showing now, you can see balls going forward people are getting on the seconds because they know where they need to be.

“We started well again like the last game. When you score early you put teams straight on the back foot. Then we got the second and the third and that was it, the game was ours, we just had to manage and make sure we did the basics right, keep our shape and not let them break us down.”

And Payne is eyeing a few big scalps in the new year with leaders Leyton Orient next up at the Kuflink Stadium and the likes of Salford City and Wrexham to follow.

“You can see the group has quality all over, the subs on the bench, there’s no difference. We’re building into the big teams coming here,” he said. “We’ve got experienced players out there who can drag the younger ones through. The gaffer went to freshen it up, there’s a lot of games over the Christmas period, so you need to. We’ve got a squad now and anyone that comes out, someone comes in and it’s just as strong. We’ve got 18 and 18 can play every week so there’s no dramas when people come out.”

Fleet are back in training on Sunday morning before a trip to Braintree on Tuesday for the New Year’s Day return. It’s a hectic schedule around family time but for Payne, it’s part and parcel of the festive football calendar.

“It is hard over Christmas but all year round we probably get to see [our kids] more than any parents do,” he said, “so they understand that, the partners understand that as well. So you make Christmas Day as special as you can for them. They enioy it whether we’re there or not!”

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