Preview: Worthing

You might have to be a little long in the tooth to remember Fleet’s one and only previous visit to Woodside Road. That came in an FA Trophy replay way back in 1983, the Sussex side winning it 2-0. Tuesday night’s game will be the first ever league meeting between the sides, with the only three previous games all coming in cup competition, the most recent of them a 4-0 win at Stonebridge Road in the 2018/19 FA Cup.

This latest clash will undoubtedly be the most intriguing of them all, however, with Worthing’s 5-1 win at Havant on Saturday really putting the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons in the promotion race.

“We have to be at our best,” said Dennis Kutrieb of his side’s away day. “I don’t know why Worthing are not higher in the table . From the first day I saw them I said they’re a very good team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up in the playoffs and that’s still my opinion. We will be ready because we know what they are about and we have to be especially mentally fresh against them to compete.”

Greg Cundle played his 50th game for the club on Saturday while Rakish Bingham is a hat-trick short of his 40th goal for the Fleet… if he needed any further motivation after grabbing his ninth goal of the season on Saturday.

Corey Whitely in action against Worthing the last time the sides met in 2018

Worthing began the season after their promotion in fine form, before tailing off a little. The Mackerel Men were 11 games unbeaten until three defeats in October saw them fall away from the front runners. A further 3-1 defeat in their previous home game to Chelmsford City also witnessed points go begging but the 5-1 win at Havant on Saturday will send belief coursing through their veins once more.

Currently in fifth place, Worthing are 10 points shy of the Fleet and have played two games more. Their home form is their chief worry and while they have achieved wins on the road at Havant as mentioned as well as Dartford, their own patch has provided somewhat slimmer pickings.

An ambitious club who always looked odds-on for eventual promotion from the Isthmian Premier either side of lockdown, Worthing have enjoyed some big crowds this season, with a high of 1,662 and an average of 1,148, the third highest in the division.

Australian striker Callum Kealy, fresh from a move out of Dorking this summer, has scored 10 goals while another member of Dorking’s promotion-winning squad, ex-Fleet midfielder Kane Wills is another close-season acquisition. Another Fleet link is defender Dan Bowry whose father Bobby spent a season at Stonebridge Road. One man who won’t be appearing is former Whitehawk, Billericay and Dartford striker Jake Robinson who is a long-term casualty with an ACL injury.

• Fleet supporters must enter the ground via the North West turnstile tomorrow evening. Once in the ground there will be no segregation. Cash and card is accepted on the gate and online tickets are available here. For those who cannot make it, we will be broadcasting live commentary via Fleet Live on Twitter.


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