Published: 00:00, 08 March 2018
Daryl McMahon insists Ebbsfleet have nothing to fear when they walk out to face Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road on Saturday.
Three years ago the O’s were playing three divisions above Fleet, but now they meet as equals in the National League.
Ebbsfleet are 16 points better off going into the game, which will be watched by more than 4,000 fans in east London.
“It’s the biggest game down south for all of us,” McMahon said. “Leyton Orient are the biggest club in the league and we’re really looking forward to it. It’s a great fixture.
“We’ll enjoy the occasion and go on the front foot. Hartlepool, Orient, Wrexham – these are the big games for us after being in Conference South for the last four years. These are the games you can really embrace.
“There’s no better stage (at this level) than Brisbane Road. I’m sure they’ll have a decent crowd there, a nice stadium, good facilities and against a good side.
“Leyton Orient have a good history and they’ve got a group of players that are going to try to build a new history.
“For us at Ebbsfleet, we’re at the same level as them now. I’ve got very good players, they’ve got some good players and we’re both in the same place.
“There’s nothing for us to fear. It’s about us putting our best foot forward and respecting the opposition but showing people we’re a decent side as well.”
McMahon returns to the ground as a manager for the first time having played for Orient between 2004 and 2006. He was part of the last O’s side to get promoted, 12 years ago, courtesy of a third-placed finish in League 2.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I loved my time there, played in a decent side, won promotion and had a good FA Cup run.
“It’s a fantastic club and it’s something I never envisaged, going back there to manage, especially as I still consider myself fairly young at 34.
“It’s a great challenge and I’m looking forward to taking our team there.
“It’s a really good club and shouldn’t be at this level. When I left the club it was in League 1 and it’s a shame it is where it is now.
“Justin Edinburgh’s a good manager but he’ll have a tough job getting them back up again because we know it’s a difficult league.
“We go there in good form and we’re looking to put a performance on and do what we do best.”
Fleet beat Orient 2-1 in November, a result which signalled the end of Steve Davis’ short reign as head coach.
“Justin’s gone in and done a good job,” said McMahon. “They’ve got points on the board, which they didn’t have before, and they’re very solid, a totally different team to the one we faced earlier in the season.
“They’re more of a 4-4-2, compact and working hard. They’re a lot harder to break down but we’ll go and enjoy it.”
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