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Ebbsfleet United manager Steve Brown says there was more pressure on him before the 2013-14 season

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet start their championship quest this week but manager Steve Brown insists the pressure on him doesn’t match the scrutiny of last summer.

Brown is expected to lead the Fleet to promotion in his second season at Stonebridge Road, following their play-off heartbreak against Dover in May.

Steve Brown Picture: Ruth Cuerden
Steve Brown Picture: Ruth Cuerden

Bookies’ favourites to win Vanarama Conference South, Ebbsfleet will be the team everyone wants to beat this season but Brown is prepared to bear that burden.

He said: "It’s no different to last year. If anything, there was more expectation last pre-season. There was the 'Monaco of non-league' stuff surrounding us and it felt like we were under more pressure last season.

"There was more attention on us last summer, more attention on me and the football club. But every club that comes to Ebbsfleet will be trying to shoot us down.

"The expectation level has risen this year – from within the camp. I don’t know what the expectation levels are around me because I don’t read social media or online or newspapers, so I don’t know what everybody else’s preconceptions are.

"But within these four walls, we want to deliver. Expectation levels are nothing new. It’s not about people putting pressure on us because we’re putting it on ourselves."

Summer signings Charlie Sheringham, Matt Godden, Matt Johnson, Tom Fraser and Kenny Clark have added further quality to an already powerful squad.

Brown said: "We’ve added strength in depth and we’ve got as good a chance as anybody else to fight for a promotion spot. But there are some good sides out there and there will always be 11 guys looking to put a spanner in the works for us."

Ebbsfleet's first league game is at home to Concord Rangers on Tuesday night.

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