Published: 05:00, 31 December 2021
Ebbsfleet midfielder Jack Paxman has stressed that the players know just how big their forthcoming derby with Dartford is for the supporters.
The Fleet host the Darts on Sunday (3pm) at Stonebridge Road as third plays fourth in National League South.
It’s a hotly-contested derby at the best of times but with points in a promotion chase on the line, there’s even more for both sides to play for.
The teams drew 0-0 at Princes Park 12 months ago – a game played behind closed doors due to Covid.
There will be a bumper crowd time around and Paxman stated: “I love it - the last time we played them the fans weren’t allowed to be there.
“This will be my first Ebbsfleet-Dartford derby with fans. I’ve played in a few other Kent derbies, a few derbies on the other side of the river as well, and they’re always really big occasions.
“This one in particular I’m really looking forward to with both teams being high up the table looking for promotion.
“It’s a top of the table clash, a local derby and I think everyone was disappointed that we couldn’t play on Boxing Day, everyone was ready for it.
“It’s massive for the fans, it’s massive for the players. Every game is, but this one’s a little bit different, there’s more behind it and we’ll just look forward to it.”
Only Dorking – courtesy of an 8-0 thrashing of Havant on Boxing Day – have scored more league goals than Ebbsfleet while Darts boast the division’s tightest defence.
The reverse fixture was postponed on Boxing Day due to Covid and self-isolation in the Ebbsfleet camp.
“We missed out on playing them on Boxing Day, the boys were really looking forward to it,” added Paxman.
“We’ve had another game now, we’ve got a few more days to recover and get ourselves sorted for that one.
“We want to be as successful as we can for ourselves, and for the fans. We all know what the Ebbsfleet-Dartford derby is about. It does give you an extra little push and you do want to do well.
“Doing what we do and sticking to our gameplan is going to be key.
“They’re going to try and nullify us so it will be about taking chances, both boxes are going to be key. As long as we keep a clean sheet, I fancy us to score.”