Match Preview: Ebbsfleet United v The Shots

Ebbsfleet United v Aldershot Town Match Preview – Saturday 25th August 2018

Following Aldershot Town’s 2-0 home defeat to Harrogate Town last weekend, they find themselves one position and two points outside the relegation zone. On Saturday, they travel to Stonebridge Road to take on tenth placed Ebbsfleet United, who come into the game on the back of an excellent 3-0 away victory at Barnet last time out. BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall previews the action;

Shots Squad:
Town manager Gary Waddock will definitely be without Hull City loanee goalkeeper Will Mannion, who is likely to be out at least two to three weeks with a quad injury. Skipper Karleigh Osborne remains side-lined with an Achilles problem and Marvin McCoy is yet to make his Shots debut having been out injured since pre-season. You can listen to Gary’s preview here.

Name: Ebbsfleet United
Formed: 1946 (as Gravesend & Northfleet)
Nickname: The Fleet
Manager: Daryl McMahon
Stadium: Stonebridge Road
2017/18 National League position: 6th

Brief History:
Gravesend and Northfleet Football Club was formed in 1946 after two existing neighbouring clubs – Gravesend United (formed 1893) and Northfleet United (formed 1890) – merged together. In 2007, the club changed its name to Ebbsfleet United.

The Gaffer:
Having previously been club captain and youth academy manager, Daryl McMahon was appointed manager in May 2015. He gained valuable coaching experience at Boreham Wood, Tottenham Hotspur and Dagenham & Redbridge and also played for Orient over 65 times. During his first season in charge, he steered Fleet to a second-place finish only to miss out on promotion via the play-offs. However, they went on to achieve promotion to the National League during the 2016/17 season beating Chelmsford City in the promotion final. Last season, a late surge saw them ease into the play-off places in the final week. They saw off The Shots in a penalty shoot-out at the EBB Stadium, but as Wembley beckoned, they came unstuck up at eventual play-off winners Tranmere.

Aaron McLean retired from the playing side at the end of last season, but remains at the club in a coaching capacity. McMahon also released six players, including full back Marvin McCoy, who joined Aldershot Town.

McMahon has shown great faith in his playing squad from last season, with eighteen of them again contracted this term, including top scorer Danny Kedwell (19 goals last season) and Corey Whiteley, who has three goals already in August. The Fleet boss has brought in just four new players to bolster his squad. Jack King (from Stevenage) is versatile and can play a number of positions. Ebou Adams, who was on loan at Leyton Orient last season, has joined since his release from Norwich City. McMahon has  perhaps saved his best signing for last – capturing striker Michael Cheek from Dagenham & Redbridge just days before the 2018-19 season kicked off.

Saturday’s referee is Joe Hull, who will be taking charge of his second National League match of the season. Last term, he took the middle in 18 National League matches, showing 53 Yellow Cards and 0 Red Cards. He refereed Aldershot Town just once – the 0-0 draw at Solihull Moors.

BBC Surrey Sports Rob Worrall and former Shots and Fleet star Mark Bentley will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66 and/or @benno_1978