Most of the Fleet squad had barely started school the last time we visited Slough Town. It was 2001 when the Rebels were relegated to end our four-year association in the Ryman Premier and we’ve only met once since, in 2005 in the FA Trophy at Stonebridge Road.
Tuesday night sees Fleet again en route round the M25 after Saturday’s visit to Hampton & Richmond Borough. And it was differing fortunes for the clubs, with Slough celebrating a last-minute winner to edge past Braintree while Fleet saw the point they had all but earned go the other way.
The visitors can expect a surface somewhat kinder to the legs tonight on Arbour Park’s 3G. Dennis Kutrieb named an unchanged side on Saturday but depending what the last two games in four days have taken out of his players, he may opt to freshen up the starting eleven against Slough. James Dobson for one will be keen to get amongst the action at a ground where he made his name across two spells.
Ben Frempah and Greg Cundle have remained on the sidelines with injury while Lee Martin, Jake Goodman and Charlie Rowan have been out in recent matches as well.
Slough go into tonight’s match technically unbeaten in eight weeks… but then such is the reality of 2020/21 that they have only played three league matches in that time, with two draws and Saturday’s win to show for it.
Managed by Jon Underwood, the Rebels saw co-manager Neil Baker step away from the club for a period just before Christmas. The pair masterminded Slough’s promotion from the Southern League in 2018 and last season took the club into the National South play-offs.
This campaign has so far been less successful for the Rebels, with their early-season mid-table form dropping off following a period of four defeats in November. But with various Covid-related postponements hitting their match schedule, the fact they’ve played only 11 games to date hasn’t helped the points tally either.
The home side won’t have too many recognisable faces as far as Fleet fans are concerned though experienced midfielder Sam Togwell has been at Eastleigh and striker Ryan Bird played for Maidenhead United and Dover Athletic in recent seasons.
Top scorer Paul Hodges is another who played against us last season, for Woking, and he has three goals this time around, though Slough have tended to share the goals out around the squad so far in 2020/21.
Defender Guy Hollis has an ankle problem which will rule him out and former Staines and Maidenhead midfielder Max Worsfold is also struggling to be fit.
The Rebels’ home form has been much better than their experiences on the road as they have yet to win a game away from home, but can boast three wins from six on home soil. Hungerford and Maidstone are the only sides to have taken all three points from visits to Slough this season, though Dartford won there on penalties in the FA Trophy.
This will be the ninth meeting of the clubs, with Fleet having won three and lost five thus far.
Slough Town will be streaming the game, available by clicking here.