There will be an altogether different kind of test for the Fleet this Saturday as the Kuflink Stadium opens its doors on the 2019/20 season.
Following two warm-ups at K Sports and Dartford, Ebbsfleet United manager Garry Hill believes the young legs of a largely U23 Tottenham side will mean his players chasing the ball in summer temperatures.
It will certainly do the fitness levels no harm but as the boss alluded to in midweek, it will also mean managing the minutes out on the pitch for his players.
With Spurs’ first team heading to Asia for a series of pre-season games, U23 manager Wayne Burnett (formerly of Dagenham & Redbridge) brings his very promising young side to the Kuflink Stadium and there’s a small chance any players not heading out to Asia could also be candidates for the trip to Kent.
Tottenham’s U23s played here two years ago, of course, for the Paul McCarthy memorial match in an entertaining game that the Fleet won 3-1. Several of their players that day could well be on show again this Saturday with goalscorer Shayon Harrison and former Fleet youth Shilow Tracey still part of the development squad.
For the Fleet, only Nathan Ashmore, Myles Weston and Sean Shields survive from the side that last played Spurs, who finished 9th of 12 teams in the U23 Premier League 2 last season. They survived relegation on the final day of the season, sending West Ham United down instead.
A number of U18s will also likely be part of a squad pool of more than 30 players that Burnett can choose from.
A number of Spurs hopefuls have played EFL Cup and Checkatrade Trophy games with the first team while others have enjoyed loan spells in the EFL or elsewhere last season.
Attacking midfielder Marcus Edwards has been on loan with Norwich City, striker Kazaiah Sterling with Sunderland while the likes of Shayon Harrison, Samuel Shashoua and Anthony Georgiou have enjoyed spells in Australia and Spain.
Then there’s the youth internationals and Spurs are packed with those. Numerous players have turned out for England at various levels from U15-U20 while midfielder Georgiou is already a full Cyprus international. Other players have represented Belgium and the USA at youth level.
Two others to watch out for should they travel with Tottenham include the first-team manager’s son, midfielder Maurizio Pochettino, plus Maximus Tainio, whose father Teemu was a Finnish international and played for Spurs from 2005–08.
The game kicks-off at 3pm. It is pay on the gate and no advance tickets are required. Car-parking is available at Ebbsfleet International Car Park C for £3 and we would respectfully ask supporters not to block residences or business around the ground. There is also a risk of cars being ticketed on Thames Way on the approach to the ground before the roundabout.
• A reminder that the Main Stand hospitality lounge is open to all supporters before and after the game. The Fleet Social Club bar is also open as usual.
• Reduced admission is also in place for all home friendlies. Details here.