The new season may only be two games old but Ebbsfleet’s Greg Cundle has already noticed big differences in the National League.
The Fleet have won one and lost one in non-league’s top flight where the physicality and defensive structure of teams has already stood out.
“We need to be fitter and stronger, overall I’d say the physicality of the league is higher so we’ve got to be ready for that,” said Cundle.
“It’s the biggest difference so far, along with defensive shape and structure of other teams. It’s going to be harder to score goals.
“Teams are fitter, they probably work on our strengths a bit more than teams did last year so they’ll know what we want to do a bit more. They’ll come here a bit more prepared than teams did last season.
“It’s a step up in quality but we’ve got to make sure we do what we’re good at. I’m sure we’ll get used to the league and continue to improve.
“We saw last year that there were games when we were by miles the better team but couldn’t get a goal. It didn’t happen a lot but it did, and it’s going to be the same this year.
“We’ll come off the pitch the better team and won’t win the game so we’ve got to turn more of them games into wins.”
The former Gillingham wing-back, who started his career as a striker, scored what proved a consolation goal in the Fleet’s 2-1 home defeat to Solihull Moors last Saturday.
They’ve got an immediate chance to bounce back at home to Aldershot on Tuesday night at Stonebridge Road.
“It’s a step up for me having played National League South for the last three seasons,” said Cundle.
“I’ve never played in this division so I want to prove myself and that we belong here as a team. We’ve got to keep going and kick on.
“It’s a positive for me to get off the mark for the season but disappointing as a whole.
“We’re gutted about Saturday. It’s tough to take and it feels like ages since we’ve lost a game but we’ve got to bounce back on Tuesday.
“They made it hard, the same as Rochdale last week. They defended well and that’s the difference in the two leagues, it’s going to be harder to find those chances to score and when we do we’ve got to take them.
“We’ve got to play our game, not worry about the opposition and I’m sure we’ll be fine.”