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Home Gravesend Sport Article
In-form Ebbsfleet will be missing two of their three strikers for Saturday's home game against Hayes & Yeading.
Stevenage loanee Michael Thalassitis is still out with a broken wrist, while Ben May suffered a hamstring injury in the Fleet's 2-2 draw at Bath on Tuesday.
That means leading scorer Billy Bricknell will be the only recognised centre-forward in their squad this weekend. Bricknell, with 15 goals to his name in all competitions, could play just ahead of Alex Osborn or Michael West in attack.
Ebbsfleet manager Steve Brown said: "I’m missing Ben May and Michael Thalassitis but the player that comes in will be an extremely good player. That's the beauty of this squad.
"When you start missing two players in the same position, you are spreading yourselves a bit thin, but it gives me the option of changing the shape and perhaps putting Osborn up front with his pace."
Centre-back Paul Lorraine, left on the bench for last Saturday's game against Farnborough, is also an injury doubt for the Hayes game.
Brown said: "Paul Lorraine would have been on the bench (on Tuesday) but he had an ankle issue so he rested it. Paul knows his body better than anybody else, so you have to trust him when he says something’s not quite right."
Hayes & Yeading, who are just three points above the Skrill South relegation zone, are one of only five teams still to visit Stonebridge Road this season.
After this weekend, Ebbsfleet's next five games - and eight of their next nine - are away from home.
Brown said: "With the home games we’ve got left, I expect to get something from all of them. We’ve had a couple of good results against Farnborough and Staines (at home) and I’d like that run to continue.
"How the fixtures have panned out is a little bit unfortunate. Some of the journeys are long but you have to play these teams at some point. It's just a shame it's built up as it has, in terms of those eight aways out of nine.
"March is a tough period, not just for us, but for every side out there. The fixture list for some clubs lower down the league, with less games on the board, is going to be extremely difficult, worse than what we face. We just have to get on with it."
Brown declared himself happy with a point from the Bath game, where Ebbsfleet twice trailed to goals from Andy Watkins.
"When you fall behind twice, away from home, to come away with a point is a good return," Brown said.
"The quality of the goals was extraordinary. Watkins, we know, is a very good player, but I don’t think he’ll score two better goals in a single game for the rest of his career.
"We set our game plan out but you have to give credit to the opposition. Bath started the game better than any opposition we’ve played this season. They didn’t let us settle, they worked very hard, they shut us down and they turned us round very quickly.
"Normally it takes 15 minutes to settle but on this occasion, they just didn’t stop working. You think they’re going to run out of steam but they were relentless. To fall behind twice and come back showed great character from us."
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