The visit of Concord Rangers earlier this year produced Fleet’s first win since a 5-2 defeat at Dagenham and the Beachboys arrive at the Kuflink Stadium in a not dissimilar circumstance as the hosts seek to shrug off last weekend’s Dulwich reverse.
The Fleet have taken advantage of a full weekday training schedule and no evening midweek match to focus in on Saturday’s game and the quest for three more valuable points.
Tobi Adebayo-Rowling begins his three-match suspension which will surely affect Dennis Kutrieb’s thinking in terms of lineup and deployment. But it’s not the first time he’s had to juggle with that one, with Adebayo-Rowling having missed a portion of the early part of the season through injury and another two games after that.
With Adam Mekki and Christian N’Guessan (pictured above) back in the fold, plus the promise of a few more returning wounded, the Fleet boss has the options at his disposal. Greg Cundle, missing for three games, would be a welcome return against his former club, while Kresh Krasniqi and Chris Haigh are also former Concord players now turning out for the Fleet.
Whatever the state of play with the injured list, the Fleet boss was adamant that the teamsheet would see changes for last week’s showdown with Dulwich, a starting eleven that was affected by numerous absences.
Concord come to the Kuflink Stadium in search of their first point here in what is their sixth visit since 2013. It’s not been an easy road for the Beachboys since their memorable appearance in the delayed 2020 FA Trophy Final at Wembley last May. Off the back of that narrow defeat to Harrogate Town, not only did they lose Haigh to the Fleet but so too manager Danny Scopes and chairman Ant Smith departed.
Important players including Alex Wall, Tyrone Sterling (who scored for Dulwich against us last week) and Jack Cawley were also on their way and that might have been enough to derail any club for the short-term.
Concord have never been ones to lie down and accept an apparent fate, however, and promoting youth-team boss Chris Search into the seat once warmed by Danny Cowley, they have approached the 2021/22 campaign full of confidence.
Early wins over Hampton and Dorking Wanderers, plus a draw at Oxford City, saw the Beachboys as high as third place for a spell. While they haven’t quite maintained that form as we approach the new year, Concord are nonetheless still taking potshots at bigger clubs and often coming off best.
A recent 1-0 win over Dartford and another at the expense of Eastbourne shows they are certainly not to be taken lightly. On the flip side, a couple of other results have been less than satisfactory, not least the 5-0 hammering they took at home against AFC Totton in the FA Trophy.
Last week they needed to come from behind twice to grab a point against Braintree Town at home and in addition to that thrashing by Totton, they have also conceded five, four and three to Havant, Hungerford and Chippenham respectively this season.
Manager Search has added two loanees from Cambridge United recently in the form of Mamadou Jobe and Lewis Simper, who played for Concord at Wembley in his previous loan spell. Franklin Domi is another temporary recruit from QPR, while the tenacious Jake Peck (Luton Town) is sure to ruffle a few feathers in midfield.
Strikers Temi Babalola and Lamar Reynolds share four goals each in the front positions but the real danger is experienced midfield man Danny Green who has six goals. Green was signed from National South champions Wealdstone and has plenty of history against us, having turned up here in the colours of not only the Stones, but Braintree, Margate and Maidenhead as well.
Concord’s last visit here ended in a 2-1 defeat, despite a first-minute lead. Rakish Bingham and Adam Mekki scored the goals to keep the three points in North Kent.
• Look out for Father Christmas and two of his little helpers who are going to be fundraising by collecting your spare change (or notes!) for the Ellenor Hospice Northfleet at the game. Please give generously to a most worthy cause.
MATCHDAY SMALL PRINT —————————->
Our online ticketing sales platform at fleetlive.club currently has tickets available for our next four matches. Again, we would advise pre-purchase for both your and our convenience in gaining admission to the ground. Online ticket sales cease at noon on Saturday matchdays.
On-the-day ticket sales will, however, continue to be available from the windows by main reception from 1pm, accepting card and cash payments. Turnstiles open at 1pm but please remember they will only be accepting online tickets (printed out or on your device) and tickets bought at the windows on matchday. The dedicated season-ticket gate will continue to accept your season-ticket cards as usual.
Car-parking as per usual on matchdays is available at Ebbsfleet International Car Park C for £3. Please have the correct change if possible to aid our parking staff. Please note that the areas near to Northfleet Station, namely Railway Street and Hamerton Road, have recently become resident/permit-only parking and non-valid vehicles will be ticketed. The area on Thamesway before the roundabout as you approach the Kuflink Stadium is a designated clearway –though that is not particularly apparent as you approach – so you are advised not to park here because of the risk of being ticketed.
If you wish to purchase your programme in advance for collection from our club shop before you enter the ground, you can do so either via our online shop or when booking your matchday tickets online.
Programme sales online will cease at 10.30am on Saturday morning and thereafter the remainder will be sold at the ground. You can buy copies from the club shop or in the Social Club behind the Plough End.
Advance programme orders should be picked up from reception before the game.