Home   Gravesend   Sport   Article

Midfielder Billy Clifford says he’s in best form of Ebbsfleet United career thanks to run in the side under new boss Danny Searle

Midfielder Billy Clifford admits he’s currently playing his best football since joining Ebbsfleet.

The 31-year-old joined the Fleet from Havant in January 2023 but had struggled to get a regular spot in the side.

Billy Clifford has started the last six games under new boss Danny Searle. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Billy Clifford has started the last six games under new boss Danny Searle. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

That’s all changed under new boss Danny Searle and Clifford, who has started the last six games, capped it off with an injury-time header to rescue a vital point at Dagenham on Easter Monday.

“If you look at the last six or seven games it’s definitely been my best run in an Ebbsfleet shirt,” said Clifford.

“I can say that about a few of the boys as well, not just myself. Everyone is pushing in the right direction and helping the team.

“I’ve never scored a header in senior football before so it was nice to tick that one off.

“I wasn’t initially meant to be in the box, my role is to secure the box, but we were running out of time and I felt the more bodies in the box the more chance we had to score.

“The new manager has come in and given me my opportunity and I feel like I’ve taken it.

“We’re playing well and playing my style of football which is box-to-box, getting on the ball and trying to keep the team pushing up the pitch.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and hopefully we can continue picking up points and keep this club in the league.”

Clifford had to serve three suspensions earlier in the season, picking up two red cards and reaching five cautions. It didn’t help the flow to his campaign.

“At the start of the season I was in and out and picking up silly bookings and suspensions,” he reflected.

“At my age it’s embarrassing that I was getting silly bookings and picking up five yellow cards to get suspended.

“To be fair I’ve not been booked in a few games now. But it was frustrating, I was in one game, then out for another.

“The previous manager liked to rotate which can be hard to get some form but that’s all in the past now.”

Clifford was the best player on the pitch against Dagenham, running the game from midfield for Ebbsfleet.

He also impressed against Southend on Good Friday and hopes the two draws could yet prove significant in the club’s fight against relegation.

“In the grand scheme of things, conceding so late and then scoring so late, it’s probably a point gained and hopefully we’ll look back and say that.

“They’re a good side, so for us it’s a point in the right direction and for us every point matters at this stage of the season.

“They were two tough games over Easter and Southend are 13 unbeaten now. It keeps us on a run of one defeat in 10 so that’s a positive.

“We’re playing like a team that deserved more than the point but we could look back in a couple of weeks and say it was a vital one.”

There’s still work to be done and Clifford, like his manager, knows the fans have a big role to play in the run-in, starting with the home game against AFC Fylde this Saturday.

“Five games to go, as cliche as it sounds, five cup finals,” he stressed. “Hopefully we can get it done sooner rather than later.

“There’s no better chance than Saturday against a team who are in and around it as well.

“Hopefully we can pick up three points in front of our fans, who I thought were fantastic on Monday and a real presence - they pushed us to get that goal if I’m honest.

“We looked tired, we were running on empty, but when you’ve got that amount of fans pushing you on, it definitely helps.

“We went to pot a little bit and the manager mentioned it was the first time that we’ve lost what we’re good at. The frustrations of going 1-0 down after dominating for such a long time can get like that.

“But we regrouped quite quickly and the fans pushed us to get the equaliser.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More