Ebbsfleet United showed character last year to win the National League South promotion final and Daryl McMahon is adamant that won’t change as he looks ahead to the big kick-off in the division above.
The Fleet boss spoke to BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster this afternoon and wants to take his side’s spirit into the new campaign. “No-one hid last season and we didn’t have a great start either, you can’t get away from that fact,” McMahon said. “Everyone stood to be counted and worked hard throughout the season and showed great character. We showed a lot of people that we have got a lot of character here and that character’s still here and it won’t be going away.”
The manager has been prudent in his close-season acquisitions, adding a little bit of quality to a side that is unbeaten in the league through 2017, and he’s convinced the blend of experience and youth will stand his squad in good stead. “We’re back in the Holy Land, we’re looking forward to Saturday’s game and looking forward to the season,” he said. “We’ve brought in a mixture of good experience in Myles Weston and Jack Payne. We’ve taken Millsy who’s been one of the best strikers in the Conference South for the last couple of years and Bagasan Graham who’s someone I think has got lots and lots of talent. [Sam Magri] has obviously played in the division a number of times as well so he’s good experience in the Conference but a young player as well. So I think we’ve got a little blend to be honest.”
And McMahon has liked what he’s seen so far in the warm-up games. “The only downside [to pre-season] is one or two injuries which will always happen. In terms of the programme, we had a really good trip [to Portgual], we had some great games in terms of the teams we played and the level they’re at. It’s easy in pre-season to have them games where you win five, six, seven-nil against teams from two leagues below and think you’re actually having a good pre-season when you’re not. We’ve not hidden away from playing good sides in this pre-season to try and test ourselves and it’s been really good.”
With the trip to Guiseley less than 48 hours away, McMahon refused to be drawn on his side’s prospects and said he’ll start with the bare minimum expectations and work his way up as the campaign progresses. “There’s a little thing around Ebbsfleet where everyone thinks they can run before they can walk,” the manager explained. “I think the club has to sometimes just slow itself down, respect the teams that are in the league already. There are some big sides and some sides who have been in the league for a fair few years and we go into a group probably outside of the top eight that will all think they’ve got a chance of bouncing into the play-offs – but first and foremost you’ve got to stay in the division.”
Listen to the full interview below.