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Teenage on-loan Ebbsfleet United defender Tommy Fogarty on what club’s ex-manager Liam Daish told him about the club, playing National League football and representing Northern Ireland under-21s

Tommy Fogarty has explained what former Ebbsfleet boss Liam Daish told him about the club ahead of joining on loan.

The teenage Birmingham defender joined the Fleet until the end of the season in January.

Tommy Fogarty - on loan at Ebbsfleet from Birmingham City. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Tommy Fogarty - on loan at Ebbsfleet from Birmingham City. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

Daish, himself a defender in his playing days, is now Birmingham’s Academy manager and won the FA Trophy in 2008 during eight years in charge of the Stonebridge Road side.

The 19-year-old said: “He (Daish) told me he was manager here for eight years.

“He got them to Wembley and just said, if I give 100 percent, the fans will take to me. I think they have.

“They clearly love him, as well. I remember the first time I was warming up someone told me to tell him he’s the best manager they have had here.

“I don’t think I have told him that - but maybe he will see this!”

Tommy Fogarty is enjoying working under Ebbsfleet manager Danny Searle. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Tommy Fogarty is enjoying working under Ebbsfleet manager Danny Searle. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

Daish, who has also managed Nuneaton, joined Birmingham’s Academy in November 2022.

Fogarty said: “You might not always see him, he might not always take sessions, but he does work closely with the defenders. He has worked closely with me since he came in.

“He’s taught me a lot about how to improve, really, especially defensively. I didn’t get to see him play but I heard he was a very rough and aggressive defender.

“That’s what he likes in defenders. He has helped me a lot.

“He gave me a debrief on Ebbsfleet before I came. I cannot speak highly enough about him.”

Fogarty was called up by Northern Ireland under-21s for this month’s international games, coming off the bench as they won 2-1 in Serbia on Tuesday and also came on in a 3-0 loss to Czech Republic last Thursday.

“There’s a lot of travelling,” explained Fogarty, who returned for Ebbsfleet for Easter Friday’s 1-1 National League home draw with Southend.

“Two different countries - Czech Republic and Serbia - all in the space of 10 days. But it’s never near the airport.

“So, you land and then there is another three-hour or four-hour coach journey.

“I felt it a little bit in the first half on Friday but I think the energy the crowd gave me, I forgot all about the tiredness.”

Fogarty has settled in nicely under manager Danny Searle.

He said: “I’ve had to be patient.

“When I came in, the team was winning so, like in any team, you’re not going to get into a winning team.

“But I knew there might be a couple of injuries and then there would be my chance to come in. I’ve settled in well.

“The lads are great with me in training and I’m really enjoying it.”

It’s a loan stint which Fogarty can feel himself reaping benefits of.

“It’s really good,” he said. “I think it’s exactly what I needed at this stage of my career.

“I have played about two or three years of under-21 football now, so I was looking for a loan at a high level - like this. I think the team suits me really well.

“The gaffer (Searle) has been great with me and I’m really enjoying it.”

Fogarty described playing in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 as one of the best atmospheres he has played in during his career so far, with Southend - on a 12-game unbeaten run - also up there in terms of the toughest opposition he has faced.

On the difference between youth-team football and playing regularly in a first-team environment, Fogarty said: “The quality is no different.

“This is maybe a bit higher because there’s players that have played at a very high level, playing in this league and in this team. There’s a lot more physicality.

“But the main thing is the fans.

“You might get no more than 50 watching some under-21s games but, on Friday, there were more than 4,000.”

The Fleet are amid a battle to avoid National League relegation. But Fogarty thinks they should look to do more than simply survive.

“It’s not just about doing that,” he said. “It’s about doing that as soon as possible and then pushing on from there.

“We want to finish as high as possible in this league. We have got a few games in hand.

“We want to get safe as soon as possible and then push on.”

Fogarty will look to keep his starting position when Ebbsfleet visit Dagenham & Redbridge on Easter Monday.

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