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Basingstoke Town prepare for visit of Ebbsfleet United
BASINGSTOKE Town manager Jason Bristow says that Saturday’s visit of well-fancied Ebbsfleet United will provide his side with their biggest test of the season so far.
After being relegated from the Conference Premier at the end of last season, Ebbsfleet signalled their intent over the summer, paying out big money to revamp their squad, bringing in a total of 16 new players.
As may be expected, it seems to be taking them a while to gel as a team and the Kent club has made a bit of a slow start to the season, sitting 14th, with seven points from six games so far.
They have won just once but are proving hard to beat, losing only one match – and Bristow is clear about the size of the challenge facing his side.
“I think it is our biggest test yet and it’s a good chance to bounce back from last week’s defeat in a positive way,” he said. “Ebbsfleet are strong and will be right up there but we are looking forward to the challenge. It will show where we are at this moment.
“They have had an indifferent start but when they gel, they are going to do well. Hopefully that doesn’t happen this Saturday.”
Town go into the game on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Whitehawk – but Bristow expects a totally different gameplan from this week’s opposition.
“It will not be like last week, when Whitehawk just sat back and made it difficult for us to break them down,” he said. “The way Ebbsfleet play should suit us. It’s great when teams try to play and take the game to us because they naturally expose themselves a little bit.
“We have won three out of three at home and we want to make it hard to come to our ground and get points. It’s a nice record to have and we are looking forward to making it four with the right performance on Saturday.”
The Basingstoke manager is hoping to welcome back midfielder Neil Barrett and striker Robbie Matthews after both missed the trip to Whitehawk due to injury.
Target man Matthews gives Town a different dimension in attack, one Bristow thinks his side missed in the defeat at Whitehawk.
“Robbie Matthews gives us a different option, allowing us to play a different way if things are not working,” the Town boss added. “Last week we got to a barrier and could not break through and we have been asking a lot of Manny Williams and Kezie Ibe in recent games.”
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