“What will be, will be,” is the message from Fleet boss Daryl McMahon as his side look to gain six points from a crucial Easter weekend ahead of the big clash at Maidenhead next Saturday.
The manager is refusing to let the extra points gap created by Fleet’s draw in Truro diminish his side’s resolve going into the final four matches. “Where we end up is where we end up,” McMahon told FleetOnline. “We’ll assess it from there after the points have stacked up. We want to build on the performances we’ve been putting in over the last four games and see where we end up. It’s two at home and two away and we can only try to win them all and see where we finish.
“It’s vital we maintain our levels and not get too emotional about the whole situation other than the parts of it we can control. And then what will be, will be.”
Fleet could go into Saturday’s game eight points behind Maidenhead if the Magpies win against Concord Rangers on Good Friday. But the Fleet boss believes with four games to play, there could still be twists in the title race.
“Football can change in a five-minute period or a second, as we know only too well. A game can swing unexpectedly and one minute it’s all looking good and the next you can be all over the place. So we have to forget about other teams and put ourselves in a position where we’re winning and ready to take advantage.
“On Boxing Day, we were 13 points out and nobody gave us a prayer. Since then we’ve done unbelievably well and played some great football to get us in the position we are in now and we just have to maintain it on the run-in.”
McMahon was naturally disappointed to only get the single point from Truro, a game he was convinced his side would go on to win. “I wasn’t at all happy with the first-half but the way we responded in the second, I couldn’t have asked for more, especially losing Keds early doors and we performed outstandingly after that. We did really well to create the number of chances and standing on the sidelines when we hit the post, the crossbar twice, at no point did I think we weren’t going to win that game. It was one of those where we created so many that you thought one would go in given how we normally play.
“If we get the second half performance we got at Truro for the rest of the season, even though we didn’t win that game, I’ll be happy with that. If we perform like that we’ll win far more than well draw or lose.”
With two games in three days over Easter, McMahon is hoping to ease Aaron McLean back into the fray after the striker trained fully this week, but he’ll be used sparingly initially, which means Bradley Bubb and Darren McQueen will likely be spearheading the attack in captain Kedwell’s absence.
Eastbourne Borough come to Stonebridge Road under no pressure, their season all but wrapped up in mid-table and manager Tommy Widdrington having departed last weekend. Acting manager Hugo Langton is in charge of a squad with a fair few goals in it, but also one a little suspect at the back.
McMahon knows full well the calibre of players like former Fleet trio Stone, Simpemba and Pinney, while Borough’s attacking threat includes the experienced Jamie Taylor, Reece Connolly and Gavin McCallum, who have all played at a higher level. “It’s the usual for us,” McMahon said, “where we’re expected to win. But there’s 11 good players on the other side determined to stop us, with nothing to lose, on a nice pitch.
“But we’re at home and we focus on that. If we influence the opposition rather than the other way round, we know we’re hard to play against. Our tempo is all important and when we play to that high a tempo that we do at our best, we’re difficult to live with.”
Eastbourne will be missing midfielder Miguel Baptista who is nursing an ankle injury. Nathaniel Pinney, who became top scorer after the departure of Elliot Romain to Dagenham & Redbridge, is looking to shake off an illness that ruled him out in his side’s 4-3 loss at Dartford last weekend. Ex-Tonbridge keeper Lewis Carey looks set to continue in goal, although the visitors can also count on the services of Bournemouth loanee Jordan Holmes and Charlie Horlock.
The game also marks the club’s Community Day and turnstiles open at 12.00 – the theme once again this year is “The Fun of the Fair” and 700 tickets have been made available to local schools and youth groups. A big crowd is expected so supporters are encouraged to turn up early to take advantage of the activities, food, music and other entertainment on offer.