By Jacob Greenwood
Woking travel to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday as their FA Trophy campaign gets underway in what, at least on paper, appears a tricky tie.
The Cards will be looking to get back to winning ways after being dumped out of The FA Cup by Accrington Stanley on Sunday in front of the BBC’s cameras. Garry Hill’s men, without the suspended Charlie Carter, will go from underdogs to favourites against a Fleet side going well in The National League South.
We talked to Fleet fan Joe Glidewell about what has been going on at Stonebridge Road and what Woking can expect on Saturday.
I am yet to speak to a Woking fan who thinks this is a good tie, what has the reaction been around Stonebridge Road?
I think the general consensus is that it’s a winnable tie, albeit a little ‘boring’. Furthermore, I think the majority of our fans see it as a good chance to test ourselves against higher league opposition, as we haven’t had that in cup draws for a while!
Is the Trophy a priority this season or is the focus fully on the league?
For me personally, I believe we have the squad to challenge on both fronts. However, given the gap between us and first place in the league at the moment, I feel we should be focusing solely on the league. That said, winning breeds confidence, so a win here will see us in good spirits going into the busy Christmas period, including two games against local rivals and fellow play-off contenders Dartford.
As with every year since being relegated in 2013, Ebbsfleet are aiming for promotion this season, how is the challenge panning out so far?
At the moment, not very well. We’re ten points from Maidenhead who, at the moment, do not look like slipping up. They also beat us at Stonebridge Road recently 2-3 with a Sean Marks hat-trick, the final goal coming in the last couple of minutes. They’re a good side, so we will have to rely on them perhaps ‘doing an Ebbsfleet’ while we put together a run of wins.
Ebbsfleet are seen as one of the ‘money’ club in the Conf South, why haven’t things worked out in previous seasons?
I think the main reason it hasn’t worked is the lack of experience in the management to go with big expectations amongst the fanbase. Steve Brown came in right at the start and was fixated with Dover, taking a bulk of their squad and talking trash about them in the media. That season was only ever going to end one way for me! After his sacking the following November, Jamie Day came and there was an air of excitement around after what he had achieved with Welling. Unfortunately, he couldn’t handle it and after us finishing outside the play-offs that was it for him.
Daryl McMahon, after impressing in charge of the academy and in a short stint as caretaker boss was given the gig; his first managerial job. Let’s not talk about last season (The Fleet let a large lead drop when top of the table and lost in the play-offs to Maidstone) but fans are split on him. Some want him gone, some believe he is the one to take us up. I think you get where I’m going with this though… what you need to get promotion is an experienced head and a team of grafters. You can’t just put ‘the best’ players together and expect them to do the business.
Woking fans will be familiar with some of your squad, Bradley Bubb, Charlie Sheringham, Aaron McLean and Danny Kedwell amongst the bigger names, but who will they have to watch our for on Saturday?
Bradley Bubb deserves a start. He’s impressed every time he’s come off the bench and knows where the net is. Charlie Sheringham has had a tough time of it with injuries and fans consistently getting on his back. If he’s over his niggle that kept him out of the Oxford City victory last week then Darren McQueen is the man to watch. Quick, hardworking, plays for the team and knows where the goal is. That is, of course, if we play it on the floor to the little guy! Jack Powell is another one. On his day, easily one of the best central midfielders in non-league, but has been slightly inconsistent so far! Then there’s Nathan Ashmore of course. 100% the best goalkeeper in our division and should really be playing higher!