After the six-goal blast that sent the ever-higher Kuflink crowds into Saturday night with a spring in their step, Fleet now embark on a series of away trips that could best be described as “tricky” – two sides in the play-off places in St Albans and Chelmsford and one whose form suggests they will be very soon, Farnborough.
It’s the Saints up first at Clarence Park – or the Mozarella Fellas Stadium to give it its current official title – who will be looking to avenge a 3-1 defeat in North Kent earlier in the season on a night when very little went right for them.
The Fleet have been alternating a couple of bodies in defence and midfield as the two-games-a-week schedule takes its toll but it would be a brave man who would tweak the forward line with Rakish Bingham and Dominic Poleon not only amongst the goals, but well in with the assists as well.
Poleon scored a brace against St Albans earlier in the campaign and managed two against them last season as well so will be looking to maintain his reputation as a scourge of the Saints going into this evening’s game.
And with Dennis Kutrieb having no fresh injury concerns ahead of this Tuesday night fixture, he’ll have the luxury – some might say headache! – of selecting from an almost-complete squad.
St Albans, having handed David Noble the player-manager role after Ian Allinson’s exit earlier this season, have maintained the upward curve they have shown over the past few seasons. Having faced relegation the season the country was plunged into lockdown, the Hertfordshire club have become a force to be reckoned with in the division.
Currently in sixth place – but being pursued by a host of play-off hopefuls behind them – they will be as eager for the points as their visitors. It’s been an up and down period for St Albans of late, the highs of an extraordinary 5-4 win at Worthing, plus a Christmas double over rivals Hemel Hempstead, have been tempered by defeats to Hungerford Town and Tonbridge Angels.
The home side’s record against the Fleet is not the best, with only two wins from their last 20 matches against us, but one of those came in the 2020/21 season and showed just how robust the new-look Saints were as they recovered from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
Both those victories have come at Clarence Park, although this season St Albans have a better record away from home. It did them little good in the clubs’ previous meeting as Fleet raced into a 3-0 lead before goalkeeper Michael Johnson was injured and outfield player Huw Dawson went in goal – keeping a second-half clean sheet.
And the Saints have ‘keeper issues once more with Dylan Berry having injured a finger, so Johnson will likely replace him for only his second game since he went off at the Kuflink Stadium.
It’s a laregely unchanged squad since then, though some important additions include midfielders Ryan Blackman from Concord Rangers and Chay Cooper in from Colchester on loan until the end of the season.
Shaun Jeffers, sitting behind Poleon in the division’s goalscoring charts, is of course the man to watch though one of his potential strike partners, Mitchell Weiss, faces a late fitness test.
• Supporters are advised to purchase online in advance, but tickets will also be available at the turnstiles on the day (card payments only). This match is not subject to supporter segregation, and all supporters can access the stadium using the turnstiles situated on York Road, Clarence Park (adjacent to the Cricket Pavilion), and Hatfield Road (within the park). Radio commentary will be provided by FleetLive on Twitter here.