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Ebbsfleet United boss Garry Hill on the visit of Leyton Orient

By Steve Tervet

Ebbsfleet are expecting a crowd in excess of 3,000 when league leaders Leyton Orient roll into town on Saturday.

The O’s are two points clear at the top of the National League but Fleet are the division’s form side and haven’t dropped a point at Stonebridge Road since October.

It’s the biggest game outside the Football League this weekend and manager Garry Hill wants the ground rocking.

Ebbsfleet manager Garry Hill Picture: Andy Jones
Ebbsfleet manager Garry Hill Picture: Andy Jones

He said: “I’d be surprised if we get anything less than 3,000.

“Orient fans can jump on the train at Stratford and be here in 12 minutes, they’ve got a vast following and I’d like to think the locals will turn out – and rightly so.

“The players have earned the chance to express themselves in front of a loud home following because we’ve won our last five home games.

“It really is a game to look at and even the neutrals will say Ebbsfleet v Leyton Orient is the game of the day.

“We go into the game with no pressure on us. We want to get in that top group and keep the run going but Orient will be feeling it.

“Their league form lately has been a little bit indifferent and they’ll be respecting us like we’ll respect them.”

Fleet could climb into the play-offs with a win while Orient will be looking to keep Salford, Solihull and Wrexham at bay in the title race.

Hill said: “If we do our jobs on the day, we can give anybody a good game.

“If we put the hard work in and the crowd get behind us, we’ve got the players who are a match for any team in the league.

Ebbsfleet have won their last five league games at Stonebridge Road Picture: Sean Aidan
Ebbsfleet have won their last five league games at Stonebridge Road Picture: Sean Aidan

“All you can ask as a manager is that your players perform with no regrets. Let’s see how far we’ve come against a team who, without doubt, are the top team in the league.”

Long-term absentee Dave Winfield will be the only player missing when Fleet return from a two-week break.

They weren’t involved in the FA Trophy last weekend so have been able to recuperate since the dramatic 3-3 draw at Chesterfield on January 5.

“It came at the right time,” Hill said. “The boys have had a few days off and now they’re looking forward to playing the league leaders.

“I’m quite relaxed about the squad and there certainly won’t be anyone going out.

“We’ll only make a move for somebody if that player can strengthen us.

“When you haven’t got a reserve side, I can’t understand why he (Daryl McMahon) had such a big squad of players.

“If you’ve got a smaller squad who are very close together, you can manage them a lot easier.”

Advance tickets for the Orient game are available from the main reception between 9am-5pm although you can pay on the day.

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