While the Fleet have been getting on with cup competitions of late, the League might have felt as if it had taken a back seat since hosting Tonbridge and then suffering postponement at Cheshunt.
Well that’s all about to change as December dawns with nothing but Vanarama National League South action ahead through Christmas for a team with four games in hand to catch up on as new leaders Dartford take their place at the summit.
And it all starts with the visit of Slough Town this Saturday, the Rebels under new management after midfielder Scott Davies was handed the reins to succeed recently departed long-term duo Neil Baker and Jon Underwood.
“The FA Cup, obviously it was a fantastic day for the club,” said Dennis Kutrieb. “But it’s December and we’ve done well but the hard work starts now because it’s getting cold, it’s getting wet, it’s not really comfortable and you start to get more injuries. So whatever happens you have to be ready for so many twists and turns. We definitely want to bounce back, it’s about re-finding that winning formula. If you see the efforts and the quality from [against Fleetwood] in every single League game, then you don’t need to be worried but obviously it’s a massive difference because it’s not the FA Cup every week.
“I don’t like games in hand because you never know what happens, where you’ll be in a few months or even a few weeks. The table, it doesn’t mean anything at the moment. We’ve watched Slough and we have to be back on it and ready to win games now.”
Skipper Chris Solly departed the pitch early with an injury against Fleetwood Town, though Joe Martin got further minutes under his belt to deputise and that remained Fleet’s only question mark going into Saturday’s match.
Slough’s new-manager bounce brought them an Isuzu FA Trophy victory at Hanwell Town a fortnight ago but things took a nosedive as they hosted Eastbourne Borough in the league last week, suffering a 5-1 defeat. Operating with a relatively small squad that he is seeking to bolster, new boss Davies lost veteran Manny Williams recently and striker Ben Harris but brought in young Wigan attacker Youssef Chentouf on loan. He joins another frontman, Arnold Matshazi, who has scored twice since his temporary move from Wycombe Wanderers and announced on Friday was another incoming loanee from Wycombe, wide player Luca Woodhouse.
Fleet will need no reminding that it was a loan signing who scored twice in last season’s corresponding fixture as the Rebels won it 2-1 in their February visit (view highlights below).
Slough’s form going into this one is not quite so hot and they haven’t tasted victory in the League since the end of September, when they took the points at Chippenham. They have the experience to get through it, though, with former Fleet wide man Johnny Goddard and ex-Torquay striker Elliot Benyon in their ranks – though both of those are likely to miss out this weekend. Plus long-standing defensive pair Guy Hollis and new skipper Josh Jackman are at the back.
Midfielder Matt Lench is suspended after his red card at Hanwell last week while Aaron Kuhl – a former Reading youth teammate of Craig Tanner – might see action as Slough seek to nullify the Fleet’s attacking tendencies.
Davies admitted that with both himself and new assistant manager Lee Togwell still deployed on the pitch, one or both of them may have to take a step back into the dugout to arrest Slough’s form, although with numbers still a concern, that may be more of a long-term goal.
For all the lack of wins recently, Slough have earned points at places including Welling United and Worthing over the past month and Davies will have his players fired up to achieve at least the same at the Kuflink Stadium to banish the memories of their defeat to Eastbourne last Saturday.
This is Slough’s sixth visit to the Fleet and they have enjoyed a pair of 2-1 wins – 22 years apart – in that time. The Fleet have won the other three but all have been close games, with never more than a goal between the sides here. In all 11 meetings between the clubs to date home and away, there has never been a draw shared.
MATCHDAY SMALL PRINT ——–>
Our online ticketing sales platform at fleetlive.club has tickets available until 12.00pm on matchday. We would advise pre-purchase for both your and our convenience in gaining admission to the ground.
On-the-day ticket sales are available from the windows by main reception, accepting card and cash payments. Turnstiles open at 1pm but they will only accept online tickets (printed out or on your device) and tickets bought at the windows on matchday. There is a dedicated gate for season-ticket holders but they may also use their cards through other turnstile gates.
MAIN STAND BAR
There is no segregation for this game – so all supporters are welcome in our Main Stand Bar and Social Club bar. To access the Main Stand bar, enter through the turnstiles and walk the length of the gangway in the Main Stand to the door at the Swanscombe (uncovered) End. There is signage pointing you in the direction. Dennis Kutrieb does a pre-match teamsheet run-through and he and other players attend the bar post-match as well for the man of the match presentation.
Check out our food stalls (to the left of the main turnstiles entrance, there is our Würtsel Haus German sausage experience and straight ahead as you enter the ground is the Manhattan Grill for all your burger, hot dog and more needs!). Pop-up bars are also situated near to the turnstiles and by ‘Geeks Corner’ between the Plough End and old stand. We have a Hofmeister popup to be found in the marquee between the main turnstiles entrance and the Main Stand.
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 and again, we would recommend an early arrival. Please note that the areas near to Northfleet Station, namely Railway Street and Hamerton Road, are 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.
Programmes are also on sale at the ground from the club shop, the popup bar as you enter the turnstiles, the Main Stand tea kiosk or in the Social Club behind the Plough End, costing £3. Advance-order programmes will be available to pick up from the club shop before the game and before you enter the turnstiles.