Brown keeps feet on ground after Pompey become latest scalp

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

First published in Sport by

Ebbsfleet United manager Steve Brown revealed he was not getting carried away with his side’s good pre-season form, even after Saturday’s 3-0 home victory over Portsmouth.

The Fleet defeated three Football League sides in the space of a week, scoring eight goals and conceding none in the process against Dagenham & Redbridge, Charlton and Pompey.

However, Brown was keen to stress he wants to see this good form repeated in competitive matches.

He said: “I thought in the first 10 or 15 minutes we stood off Portsmouth a little too much in a ‘let’s see what they’ve got’ scenario.

“I didn’t think we forced ourselves physically upon them in terms of making challenges in the right areas when we needed to.

“But I thought we got a hold of that and played very, very well.

“I’m very pleased with another clean sheet against a league side and another result.

“Although they’re not so important at this stage of the season, in terms of psychology for our players and what we’re trying to achieve it has been another good exercise.

“I don’t want to take away from the performances and the results, as they have been good, but it is pre-season, so we’re not getting carried away.”

Pre-season games are primarily about fitness and implementing what has been instructed on the training ground, leaving Brown strongly satisfied with what he has seen so far.

The boss explained: “We’ve put on some good performances that have been pleasing to the eye, although I perhaps look at the game slightly differently to a supporter in the fact I’m looking to see if what we’ve done in training is being implemented on the pitch.

“At the moment we’re 90 percent there.

“There are things you can always improve even when you’re on top of your game, which is what we’re using pre-season for.

“So I am pleased, but I’ll be even more pleased if after five games we’ve met the same level of performances and consistency.”

Brown also revealed he wants to sign another two players in order to make his squad complete.

Former Dover defender Lloyd Harrington made his second pre-season appearance on Saturday and after missing most of last season through injury, Brown revealed he feels the player needs full fitness.

When asked about how many more players he wanted, the Fleet manager said: “I’ll say two, as Shane Huke is injured and Lloyd Harrington is available, although I wasn’t planning on looking for another centre half.

“Lloyd covers a multitude of positions - he can play centre half, left-back and, at a push, left midfield.

“You could tell today that he’s been out a year and he’ll need a lot of fitness work, which I think we can give him with three mornings a week.

“If we take him on I can loan him out to the right club, and his potential is for me to work on.

“Other than that, I’ve got my eye on one other player.

“But trying to get the deal done is an extremely slow process at the moment, so it might not happen.”

However, Brown admitted he is reluctant to dip into the loan market himself once the season starts.

“What I have here is what I want to work with and I think I’ve put together an extremely competitive squad”, he said.

“The balance is good and I’ve got quality all over the pitch.

“I’ve got a lot of competition for places, so I think the hardest thing for me is going to be when players aren’t playing for a long period of time and how I’ll deal with them if they’re not playing.

“There are various outcomes from that, so we’ll have to come to one and work it out the best we can, but that’s down the line at the moment.

“Everybody is fighting for a starting place, so I’m going to have a few headaches come the first weekend.

“As everyone tells me, they’re great headaches to have, and it’s better than only having 12 or 13 players.”

The Fleet continue their pre-season programme away to Thurrock on Tuesday and at home to Gillingham on Saturday.

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