Steve Brown expecting a physical contest when he returns to Dover Athletic with Ebbsfleet United
Ebbsfleet boss Steve Brown insists his side’s derby clash with Dover on Tuesday is “just another game” despite the circumstances surrounding the fixture.
The 41-year-old is expecting a hostile reception when he makes his first return to Crabble since leaving in the summer to succeed Liam Daish as Fleet manager.
Brown served as assistant to Nicky Forster and then first-team coach under Chris Kinnear during his time at Dover.
Since his appointment at Stonebridge Road, he has signed seven of the players he worked with at Dover, although only one of those – Daryl McMahon, for £13,000 – moved directly between the clubs. Kinnear, now Brown’s opposite number, has in turn brought in four members of last season’s Ebbsfleet squad.
Aside from all the transfer activity, this will be the first time the sides have met in a league game since January 2011.
But Brown said: “To me, it’s just another game that Ebbsfleet can gain three points from. In that respect, the spice comes from the media side of things; that I was there and players have exchanged clubs.
“I expect a very similar game to Saturday, I expect a physical approach. We’ll get our scout report and I’ll try to formulate a plan to get a result down at Dover.
“I’ve had some nice texts off a couple of members of staff down there, wishing me good luck for the season.”
Three of the Fleet’s ex-Dover contingent missed Saturday’s goalless draw against Havant & Waterlooville. McMahon, who was suspended, is available to face his old club, while strikers Ben May and Billy Bricknell are recovering from back injuries.
Brown said: “I’m hoping to have Billy Bricknell back and Ben May is not too far away, he’s improving day by day. I think Tuesday might come a little bit too soon, but you never know.
“If I have a striker come out, I think I’ve got enough quality in the side to replace that missing striker.
“It does affect us; Billy walking in Thursday after 15 minutes of training is not ideal but I’ve got a squad here that I’m confident whatever XI I put out will give anyone a good game.”
Brown has his first point as a manager; now he is looking to beat his former employers on their own patch.
He said: “I don’t think any manager – whether you have no experience or all the experience in the world – you can’t wait to get that first three points on the board.
“This has been a long time coming for me, 10 years in the making. I’ve done a lot of good jobs and I’ve done some poor jobs, and this is a very good opportunity for me.
“I was excited on Saturday. I’ll take the 0-0, I’d have preferred the three points naturally but I’ve avoided on a loss on my opening day as a manager.”
Tuesday’s game at Crabble kicks off at 7.45pm.
- Click here for more Gravesend news
- Click here for more news from across the county