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Ebbsfleet manager Kevin Watson says each player in his 18-man squad is at first-team level

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Ebbsfleet boss Kevin Watson believes every member of his 18-man squad is good enough to play in the team.

The Fleet manager made four changes for last Saturday’s FA Cup first round tie with Notts County – only one of which was enforced.

Ebbsfleet boss Kevin Watson is not short of quality options Picture: Matthew Walker
Ebbsfleet boss Kevin Watson is not short of quality options Picture: Matthew Walker

Watson, who has started 17 different players in his seven games in charge, admitted he’s still working out his best XI and has turned down approaches from other clubs to take Fleet players on loan.

“I’ve got 18 players that are fit and can all play in my National League team,” said Watson.

“I’ve had people ring up about players on loan from lower leagues and I have to say sorry, I’ve got 18 National League players here. They’re not going to go and play lower.

“I wouldn’t say it’s competition as that sounds like you are fighting for spots, but they are vying for positions in the team.

“From what I’ve seen we are as one at the minute. Myles Weston said in the dressing room that we stick together. We are a family, we’re all as one and that’s what’s taken us on this five-game run and it will take us on another one if we do our stuff right.

“Would I know my best XI? We’re still working it out.

“I think everyone has their opinion of what the best XI is, ultimately I will be judged on mine and no one else will!

“We’re getting towards that but I’ve got 18 very good players at the minute and we’re showing it.”

Fleet’s controversial cup defeat to Notts County was their first in six matches – and now Watson wants an immediate response when they host Hartlepool this Saturday.

Back-up keeper Harry Palmer comes into the side with Jordan Holmes in China on international duty for Australia under-23s.

Watson left Palmer out against Notts County to avoid him picking up an injury.

“We’ve been on a five-game unbeaten run so let’s go on another five-game run,” said Watson.

“Good teams don’t lose two on the trot so hopefully we bounce back from that against Hartlepool.

“I know I’ve got enough in that dressing room and enough belief that it stops after one defeat and we go on another little run.

“I’ve no qualms that we’re good enough to climb away from the trouble we’re in.

“We’re getting more people to watch us now, they’re sticking with us and standing in the rain clapping us at the end.

“That’s all I want, it shows that the players are doing the right stuff. They are giving the fans the effort they want to see, and playing the way they want to see.

“It’s results now, the FA Cup is gone, so let’s climb away from the relegation zone.”

On-loan Charlton midfielder Albie Morgan returns after not being allowed to play in the FA Cup by his parent club.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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