If there’s one player in the Fleet squad who understands the current links with Dagenham and the historic links with Dartford, it’s Michael West. The 29-year-old played against Daggers boss Daryl McMahon in the 2010/11 promotion final and under him as Fleet manager from 2015-17. And he appeared in the first North Kent derby for 18 years back in 2010 as well.
And with both those clubs on the horizon, West insists not just himself but all the squad are primed for those games.
“A hundred percent we want to win no matter who it’s against but especially the derbies, the Dartford game will be massive,” West told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “And there’s a few boys here from Dagenham so I’m sure they want to prove themselves why they’re not there anymore. It’s always a busy Christmas and derbies are what you play football for so if we can get points out of that, it’ll be great. We just want to win every game, no matter whether it’s the cup or league, so hopefully we go there Saturday to Dagenham and put in a good shift.”
West was part of a front three against Chippenham that saw Dennis Kutrieb tweak the system and it worked well, with the Fleet spending much of the game applying pressure to the visitors’ goal.
“It’s been a tough period obviously with the coronavirus, I had it myself,” said West. “Everyone was finding it hard, we didn’t score for three games at home. So it is good for the boys’ confidence. We tried something new tonight, and it paid off. It was just the formation and obviously some personnel coming in. I myself haven’t played for five to six weeks, and a few other boys too, so it shows the quality we’ve got in the team. You’ve got to try something new, sometimes a bit of fresh legs or a different formation.”
And West’s link-up play with Lee Martin was one talking point to emerge from the game.
“Me and Marts like to play football the same sort of way, on the deck,” he explained. “That’s my first proper competitive game since about two or three months ago. I think you just have that instinct with some players. Everyone’s got it to be honest, we’ve got to put it together on the pitch rather than just in training sessions.
“I think it’s just cutting out the mistakes. The mistakes are killing us. But tonight when we cut more mistakes out than we make, you win the game. So I think if we can do that more than before, we will move up the table as well as do well in the cup.
“There’s nothing like match fitness so the more times I can play, the better for me. I just want to score goals, I’ve been saying this since I was 18, and play football.
“Hopefully tonight will push us on and bring that confidence – like Raks getting a goal, he needs that and hopefully pushes on and gets double digits, and the same with Marts and myself and everyone.
“That goes down to the quality we’ve got, we train so hard every day. And it’s nice to see it pay off. We could have had a few more goals but hopefully that’ll come.”