While adamant he wants to finish the season on a high, Fleet boss Jamie Day believes his side remain rank outsiders to pip all of Whitehawk, Gosport, Concord Rangers and Hemel Hempstead to fifth spot. “It would need a lot of luck, a lot of slipping up from a lot of good teams and a 100% record from ourselves to achieve that. Whitehawk are a good team and need five points, maybe less, to get over the line. We’ve kept it alive a little bit but deep down you know it would be something pretty remarkable to get us there now.”
Day welcomed the news of the stadium planning approval which he hopes, together with his side’s recent back-to-back wins, maintains as much of a feelgood factor around the club as possible. “People want to be a part of what’s going on here,” he told FleetOnline. “You can see the potential off the field and with the stadium coming, you can attract the right people.
“We need to strengthen in a couple of areas in the summer but we need to make sure we’re signing the right players for the right reasons. We don’t want to keep chopping and changing the squad every three or six months or whatever. Players need to have a bit of stability and know they are part of a long-term plan so we won’t chop and change it too much over the summer. We’ll add a little bit of quality where we think it’s needed and if you look around this club come the summer, if you’re a player, there’s no reason you wouldn’t want to come here if you’re prepared for the level we’re at.”
Aiden Palmer is set to fill the left-back role once more and he has impressed the manager who last week was worried about the impact of two games in four days on the recently rehabilitated defender.
Fleet are likely to field only three or four at most of the players who won 3-1 at Meadow Park back in January, when Day was forced to employ a 3-5-2 formation using Alex Osborn and Sean Shields as wing backs. He is likely to deploy differently against the league leaders at home – and hopes his front line, with Luke Rooney’s creative influence to feed off, are as ruthless in taking chances as they were last Saturday against Whitehawk.
Ian Allinson’s squad is a particularly settled one and is likely to line up much as it was back in January. Since then, however, the manager has drafted in former Shrewsbury and Aldershot defender Ben Herd, as well of course as Daryl McMahon, while prolific striker Charlie Walker (on loan from Luton after scoring 43 goals last season from Peacehaven & Telscombe) provides firepower from the bench.
The Wood’s big danger is, of course, Lee Angol – also on loan from Luton (for the season). He scored against Fleet last season and is second in this campaign’s goalscoring charts with 22. But as anyone who went to Boreham Wood in January can testify, the league leaders have some very swift attacking players, with winger Matty Whichelow a creative influence and Junior Morais and Graeme Montgomery also capable of upsetting any defence. And that’s all without mentioning Ricky Shakes, the ex-Fleet winger deployed in central midfield on occasion by Wood this season but still with nine goals to his name so far.
With only two games left, to Bromley’s three, Boreham Wood have little allowance for any slip-ups. Even two wins may not be enough for them if Bromley secure six (depending on goal difference) or seven points from their last three games. And with Fleet needing all three points just to prolong the mathematical possibility of play-offs, an open and entertaining game is on the cards.