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Ebbsfleet United ready to strengthen their squad following promotion to the National League

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet have already identified the players they believe can make them a force in the National League.

Daryl McMahon will be given money to spend this summer after leading Fleet to promotion in his second season as manager.

And with a place in the Football League their ultimate aim, Ebbsfleet are determined to make their presence felt at non-league football’s top table.

Peter Varney Picture: Andy Payton

Vice-chairman Peter Varney said: "We’re going to strengthen the squad in the summer because we’re now playing the likes of Leyton Orient and Hartlepool. There are going to be some big games here and we’ve got to give Daryl the tools.

"We’ve not been lazy behind the scenes. I know it’s extra work but we have produced two budgets – one for if we stayed where we were and one for if we went up to the National League. We’re ready to move on that budget.

"When you’re going up into a new league, it’ll be new to us, new to the players and new to Daryl. We’ve worked hard to get this promotion so we certainly want to consolidate in the National League but once you’ve gone up there, who knows?

"We’ll be signing new players and retaining a lot of the players that are here.

"Who knows what can happen? Lincoln took a long time to get out and Danny Cowley showed what can be done.

"I’m not putting pressure on and the aim is to consolidate but, once you’re there, we’ll give it our best shot."

Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi’s financial backing means reaching the EFL is no fantasy for Fleet but their Kuwaiti owner – who has waited four years to get this far – is prepared to be patient again.

He said: "There’s no exact time frame but the idea is to take it forward slowly, on solid foundations.

"The development off the field should be together with on-field progress and this is exactly what we’re trying to do – make this football club self-sufficient, financially. As you can see, the club is progressing well off the playing field and this just adds to the direction of the football club.

"We want to build it on solid ground and progress slowly to the leagues above.”

Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon Picture: Andy Payton

Both men paid tribute to 33-year-old McMahon, whose side finished the season unbeaten in their last 23 league games.

Mr Varney said: "He’s such a good character, such an innovative coach. Some of the passing football is outstanding and he’s developed so many young players.

"He’s destined to be a serious player in the game. It’s a shame, throughout football now, that young coaches are dispensed with so quickly.

"There’s not much time given but we’re going to give Daryl time here. He will be a very successful manager.

"I’ve worked with a few top managers and Daryl’s right up there with them."

McMahon was under pressure in September after back-to-back defeats and a run of one win in seven games left Fleet languishing in mid-table.

But Dr Al-Humaidi was unwavering in his support and promotion proves he was right to stand by his man.

He said: "Last year and this year, again, Daryl’s done an excellent job. He is a bright individual and he’ll have a very good future with Ebbsfleet.

"Having two seasons, last year and this year, the amount of points we’ve had, in any (other) season we would have been champions.

"It was unfortunate last year and again this year, and all credit to Sutton and Maidenhead.

"To get 96 points, you’d have been champions in any of the leagues above. Daryl is the right man to take things forward."

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