Published: 00:00, 09 February 2018
Ebbsfleet need more pace and power in their team if they want to challenge for promotion.
That’s the view of manager Daryl McMahon, who saw his side’s goal drought extend to six hours in a 3-0 defeat at Tranmere on Saturday.
Fleet have gone four games without a goal and McMahon admitted he’s no closer to signing a new striker than he was a month ago.
He said: “Tranmere have got a lot of pace and power and that’s the biggest area we’ve got to improve on going into the summer.
“We’ve got some good technical footballers but we need that extra bit to make us a bit stronger.
“Not scoring will become a concern when we don’t create chances.
“We’ll always create chances with the players we have but we’ve been operating with one striker for the whole season (Danny Kedwell) and he’s 34.
“He’s been unbelievable again and we all trust him but he needs a little dig-out. Losing Darren McQueen has been massive and we’ve not been able to replace him.
“We haven’t got endless pots of money to bring more players in. The players we’ve gone for in the last six weeks are out of our price range and the ones that are average want too much money."
The search for new players has been a major focus for McMahon recently.
"It's taken up a lot of my time," he said. "I want to kick the team on, move the team forward and it would immediately help us if somebody came in and gave us something different but sometimes you have to find it within the group, whether it's changing shape or whatever, to find the right personnel. We're trying things all the time.
“We’re lucky this season in that we’ve got time to figure that out. I want to finish as high as we can and a very good season for us would be to finish in the top 10. We'll definitely be pursuing that but realistically, right now, with the injuries we've had and the players we've lost, we're probably where we should be, around 12th.
"We need to kick on from there and that could be having players back a little bit longer, having players at key times that we didn't have and recruiting the right ones to go forward - and keeping everyone fit.
"If I'm being really honest, I think we're three players away, plus having everyone fit, from being a play-off team. I think we're that close - yet that far from it as well."
The transfer market in the National League is becoming increasingly competitive.
McMahon said: "Clubs in the play-offs are having a right go and spending a lot of money to consolidate their positions or to chase down the title.
"There are four teams going bust or struggling for money and that's in the forefront of my mind as well. This club was in a terrible place four-and-a-half years ago and I don't think this is the right time to go chasing something that isn't there.
"It's important we have a good financial footing moving the club forward and not be boom-and-bust. I signed a five-year deal in the summer to grow the club at a sustainable rate and that is what we'll do."
So has McMahon accepted he'll have to see out the season with his existing squad?
"No, I'm still trying. We've spoken to clubs this week about bringing players in. I've spoken to a manager in our league, trying to get a player from a club who will probably be in the play-offs, to give a player some games for the next six weeks to get him ready for the play-offs for them if they need him.
"I am actively trying to bring players in but it's bringing the right ones in. There's no point just signing anybody for the sake of it and you've another body sitting around who's not going to affect the starting XI.
"I'm sure fans would say 'we need to sign a striker, give us somebody' but I can't bring anybody in if the person isn't there or if they want money we can't afford.
"It's not for the want of trying. Look in my phone if you want. Every day I'm on the phone, morning, noon and night, trying to bring the right players in but if they're not available or not in our price range, there's nothing we can do about it.
"We don't need to risk it. I've been here over two-and-a-half years and in a way, we've made a rod for our own back by being so successful. You're almost used to play-off finals etc but now we're taking stock of where we are, consolidating and making sure we stay in the division."
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