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Manager Dennis Kutrieb says consistency is crucial if Ebbsfleet United are to stay in the mix for promotion from National League South

Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb knows his team have to peak in the final six weeks of the season.

The Fleet have fallen 12 points behind leaders Maidstone in National League South, knowing they need snookers to get back into the title race.

Fleet boss Dennis Kutrieb says his side cannot afford one bad display in the remaining weeks of the National League South season. Picture: Keith Gillard
Fleet boss Dennis Kutrieb says his side cannot afford one bad display in the remaining weeks of the National League South season. Picture: Keith Gillard

Kutrieb’s side have one game in hand and while top spot might be beyond them, the Fleet boss knows momentum heading into the play-offs will also be key.

“You have to go for it, there’s no excuses now,” stated Kutrieb.

“There’s eight games to go, it’s the final period of the season so you can’t waste any more points or put in bad performances, have a day off or just switch off a little bit.

“You need to be on top (of your game) now, and get the momentum for the last part of the season.

“Even if you have to go in the play-offs, you (want to have) the momentum with you because to have a good winning streak that would be perfect. That’s what we need to get everyone fit and ready for.”

Time is not Ebbsfleet’s friend in the league programme, but Kutrieb refused to concede they are out of the title race despite drawing 1-1 at home to second-placed Dorking Wanderers last weekend.

Fleet will need some major slip-ups from the sides above them if they are to gatecrash what appears a three-way race for the title. But Kutrieb insisted they’ve got to be ready just in case the teams above them drop points.

He said: “You can see that anything can happen, St Albans have dropped away from the play-off places, Maidstone won again and Dartford are just three points away from us, Dorking a bit further and we have a game in hand.

“Now is not the time to say when we win our games that we will do it, we need to wait for someone else to struggle.

“We need to be there, and that’s the only thing we can do. That’s why we can’t take our foot off the pedal, we need to work even harder and get our wins.”

Kutrieb is hoping the depth of his Ebbsfleet squad will come to the fore in the remaining weeks of the season.

The Fleet have kept a 24-man squad throughout most of the campaign, with Kutrieb regularly tinkering with his team.

“We need to make sure we get our players back and everyone is fit and available,” he said.

“We need to keep everyone in the best shape that they can be. If you have to go into the play-offs, you need to make sure you’re still fit, that you can go again and are not too tired from the season.

“Maybe it can help us that we have a big squad with many players who get minutes all over the season.

“The boys are not used to playing so many games as last season was gone after 20 games, the season before was gone after 25 games, so they need to get used to playing 40-45 games again.

“St Albans are the best example, they had so many games to play with their FA Cup run and replays, all those games and now they suffer, as we say in Germany they pay the bill for it.”

Sefa Kahraman (calf), Kieran Monlouis and Greg Cundle are among those currently sidelined, along with Alfie Egan and Tobi Adebayo-Rowling.

Kutrieb added: “Alfie is already running so hopefully he can be back. Tobi I don’t know yet whether he will be available for the last games, I don’t want to put any pressure on them.

"Greg Cundle had a little bit of a setback again, otherwise he would have been involved. At St Albans he got a little knock on his knee so he wasn’t available.

“When he came on last week, he straight away had two or three good situations.”

Ebbsfleet host Hungerford in National League South this Saturday and travel to Folkestone in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night.

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