Preview: Slough Town

It’s almost exactly three years since the Fleet last featured on live TV in a league-fixture capacity, as lockdown descended on the final game in Western Europe at FC Halifax Town.

And while the visiting fans this Saturday to Arbour Park may have previous experience of such exposure, for the Vanarama National League South it’s an entirely new adventure as the fixture with Slough Town is the first ever live televised match in this division.

As such, eyes might very well be fixated on the screen but for the Fleet, the focus has to be on treating it as “just” another regular fixture with the potential for three points paramount. In search of three more wins to all but guarantee automatic promotion, the Fleet will look for what would be a third successive win on Slough soil (or 3G as of course it is!).

Rakish Bingham has scored in three of the last four meetings between the clubs and although Dominic Poleon is still looking for his first against the Rebels, his four-goal blast against Dulwich last weekend suggests now will be as good a time as any to break that duck.

Poleon smashed through the 30-goal mark for the season and the 50-goal mark for the club last Saturday but admitted he still has fresh targets to reach in the remaining games of this campaign, which is bad news for opposition defenders. One of those targets is surely the division’s golden boot but Poleon, like his teammates, operates on the primary ambition of the three points.

The Fleet will be without Omari Sterling-James who played in the first of his two international fixtures for St Kitts & Nevis on Thursday night, while Jack Paxman made the move to Worthing on loan until the end of the season.

Rakish Bingham has four goals from his last four appearances against Slough

Slough will have a new face in the camp and it’s a significant coup for boss Scott Davies who has landed striker George Alexander from Bromley on loan. He makes the immediate switch from Welling United where he has impressed and will now go in search of points to steer Slough from relegation at the expense of the Wings.

A second registration-deadline signing for Slough sees a return to the club for defender Luca Woodhouse from Wycombe Wanderers as Davies brought in those two fresh faces to fill a squad that was affected by injury in midweek when they lost 4-1 at Farnborough.

Former Fleet striker, the much-travelled Jefferson Louis, played 90 minutes at the age of 44 in that one while the Rebels also have ex-Fleet wingers James Dobson and Johnny Goddard in their squad.

Since last we met, a 2-0 win for the Fleet at the Kuflink Stadium before Christmas, Slough have lost influential midfielder Aaron Kuhl to Dorking Wanderers and keeping squad numbers healthy has been quite the baptism for player-manager Davies having taken over from long-standing joint managers Neil Baker and Jon Underwood.

At one stage this season, Slough looked like being lured into the bottom four for good and they were 12 games without a win heading into Christmas but Davies has enjoyed some better fortune since, seeing his side earn four points from the festive games against Oxford City, demolish Hungerford Town 4-0 and win at St Albans. The Rebels have also tended to pick up points from sides around them, including Dulwich Hamlet, Concord Rangers and Hampton & Richmond Borough which has been useful in earning them a six-point cushion above the relegation zone.

They still need points, however, and this BT Sport game has the potential to be a cracker with both sides eager for a win for different reasons.

This will be the 13th meeting of the sides and if previous form is anything to go by then it will definitely be unlucky for someone because there has never been a draw between us, with a round six wins apiece.

Last season’s attendance of 757 in a 3-1 win for the Fleet is the best attendance for this fixture at Slough but that’s sure to be beaten this Saturday as the club welcomes the TV cameras. Travelling Fleet fans can still take advantage of discounted admission here, while anybody not travelling is welcome to watch the game back at the Kuflink Stadium bar.


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