If there’s one man who might know Daryl McMahon’s footballing philosophy better than most it’s his former housemate Wayne Carlisle – and the two go head-to-head this Saturday as Truro City (where Carlisle is assistant to Steve Tully) make the long journey from Cornwall.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Wayne in the dugout,” McMahon told FleetOnline. “We were teammates at Leyton Orient and housemates, too, so he’s a familiar face in their setup.”
McMahon and former Northern Ireland U21 international Carlisle were members of the 2004/05 Leyton Orient squad and played together the following season when The Os defeated then-Premier League Fulham in the FA Cup. They went their separate ways after that, with Carlisle’s career taking him to the south-west and McMahon remaining around the Home Counties, but the two will enjoy a reunion of sorts this weekend.
“They’re a big side, a physical side with some talented footballers,” McMahon said. “They’ll be well-organised, tough to break down, and the lad Isaac Vassell up top is extremely quick. The lad at the back, Shane White, he offers a lot as well. I say it every week about watching out for counter-attacking sides coming here but a lot of teams in the country play that form of counter-attacking football now. There’s not too many sides that go out and try to dominate the ball and play it on the front foot. Most sides are well-organised and they get into shape quickly and break. Teams coming here, we’ve seen they play that way and I don’t see that changing so it’s something we have to get on top of.”
New signing Bryan van den Bogaert could be in line for a start at left-back, with McMahon predicting the Belgian player will be a success. “He’s still to get a little bit fitter but in training with us this week he’s looked very good and it’s somewhere on the pitch we needed to address and I think he’ll do a great job.”
Matt Godden is in contention for the No.10 shirt once more after missing the Concord fixture with a hamstring strain, while Tom Bonner returns from suspension.
Truro arrive with the second lowest goalscoring record of all Top 10 teams but that hasn’t affected their ability to grind out results, with only one defeat in 14 league games having seen the newly promoted side stay in the hunt for a play-off place. With 14 different goalscorers this season, the Cornish side aren’t reliant on one target man.
Without a game since Boxing Day, having seen their home clash with Bath City called off, Truro come into the game eager to start the new year – and with only two defeats on their travels this season, it seems the long roadtrips are no hardship for the squad.
It is a squad very much formed around its location, with most of the players having at one time or another played for one of Torquay, Exeter or Plymouth. Goalkeeper Martin Rice was the man who saved Chris McPhee’s penalty at Wembley in 2008, while veteran midfielder Les Afful was once sent off at Stonebridge Road for Exeter and also scored Truro’s two goals in our only other meeting, back in 2011. A somewhat misfiring forward line has been augmented by the arrival of teenage striker Cameron Gill on loan from Exeter City.
Fleet will need to be wary of the visitors who despatched Bath with relative ease on Boxing Day, only a week after the Romans had themselves inflicted a last-minute defeat on Daryl McMahon’s side.