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Fit-again Ebbsfleet striker Darren McQueen will reach greater heights, says boss Daryl McMahon

Darren McQueen has been tipped to come back an even better player than he was before his knee injury.

McQueen resumed full training for the first time in nine months when Ebbsfleet reported back for the start of pre-season last week.

The 23-year-old suffered a complex tear in his meniscus after landing awkwardly in the 2-0 win over Halifax on September 30.

Darren McQueen suffered a meniscus injury in the match against Halifax Town last season Picture: Andy Payton
Darren McQueen suffered a meniscus injury in the match against Halifax Town last season Picture: Andy Payton

McQueen, top scorer the season before when Fleet won promotion to the National League, didn't play again all season but now he's back.

"It's going to be exciting for everyone," said Fleet boss Daryl McMahon. "We all know he's a super-talented player and he's had a tough year.

"He's hungry now to get back and we'll find out in pre-season (where he's at).

"We're not going to judge him at the level he left us at because he's been out for a while.

"What most people forget is that when any young player's injured for a long period of time, they miss out on development which is a massive thing.

"It's probably easier for an older player to go back in who's been round the block and seen injuries before.

"For a young player, having his first serious injury, mentally what that does to him, missing out on development technically and physically, that's big as well.

"We'll nurture him back to what he was – and I'm guessing he'll be better as well."

Even with McQueen available, McMahon's hunt for another centre-forward continues.

He's already signed centre-half Jack King and midfielder Ebou Adams this summer so a new face up front would complete a seriously strong spine of the team.

McMahon said: "We're in discussions with lots of strikers now and it's about getting the right one.

"We can afford to be patient because of what we've already got with Danny Kedwell, Darren coming back, Sean Shields, Myles Weston, Luke Coulson, Corey Whitely, Jack Powell and Andy Drury.

"With the goals they accumulate, I think we can be patient to make sure we get the right one to go into that blend.

"I don't know how many people I've spoken to this summer. Loads have been in and out of the stadium, on the phone, meeting them in different places.

"I don't think we need to do big business this summer, we just need to get the right ones in.

"People were injured last season and we missed a lot of players for a lot of last season.

"We're talking about Darren, Sam Magri, Jack Payne, Dave Winfield, Kenny Clark and Dean Rance all missing significant parts of the season.

"We hope they'll be fit and I believe in sticking together because we've got a good group already."

Ebbsfleet's first pre-season friendly, at home to Billericay on Saturday, has been brought forward to 12.30pm.

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