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Ebbsfleet United boss Garry Hill praises Gozie Ugwu's debut performance against Maidenhead United

By Steve Tervet

Garry Hill hailed the impact of Gozie Ugwu after the striker started his loan spell at Ebbsfleet with a bang.

Ugwu went straight into the Fleet side against Maidenhead on Tuesday and had a hand in two of their three goals.

The 25-year-old has joined from Chesterfield until the end of the season and made an excellent first impression.

Ebbsfleet manager Garry Hill Picture: Sean Aidan
Ebbsfleet manager Garry Hill Picture: Sean Aidan

Hill said: "I thought on his debut, Gozie Ugwu up top showed great strength fetching people into play.

"Him and Michael Cheek, you could see straight away, were looking a very good mobile handful as a pair.

"I had Gozie Ugwu with me at Woking 18 months ago and he got 24 goals that season.

"It didn’t happen for him, he was a little bit unlucky at Chesterfield and it’s not happened for him (on loan) at Boreham Wood.

"That happens sometimes with football players but he ticks the boxes for me. He knows what I want him to do and I saw a performance I used to see on a regular basis.

"He looked a real handful out there and I think he enjoyed it. He’s been received very well; they’re a great set of lads, they’re very close in the changing-room.

"It always fetches a little bit into the changing-room when you see someone like Gozie.

"He’s a very good lad and I was very proud of the way he was received by the fans. The fans liked the way he was fetching people into play, holding up, he was a handful, winning his headers and he showed good turns of pace.

"Michael Cheek got two goals and he’s done very well for me as well.

"He hadn’t played many games before I came to the club and I said I wanted to see him get 15 league goals. The way he’s going, from the time we came in in November, he can’t be far away from that now and he’ll be pushing on for it."

Hill revealed neither Lawrie Wilson (ill) or Jack Payne (injured) were 100% on Tuesday night, with both players substituted during the second half.

Once again Fleet could only name four substitutes and there were appearances off the bench for Freddy Moncur and academy product Arif Omar.

Hill said: "We went into the game very thin on bodies, you can tell that out there, but we asked for a performance of a team which had to show character and dig deep.

"I thought overall we contained the first half quite well and it was important to get that first goal. From then on, we were really in command and it was nice to see some strong performances out there.

"Since we’ve come to the football club, they’ve given us everything they’ve got and that’s all you can ask.

"The first goal gave us something to hang onto and it made us stronger all the way round. Over the 90 minutes I don’t think they can have any complaints.

"The way we took our goals was very encouraging. I thought we looked very good going forward up top.

"We were balanced well having Corey Whitely and Bagasan Graham in there and the two boys up front gave us a little bit more mobility.

"They were very strong physically and their presence was a handful. They struggled to handle our front two."

Hill advised goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore to rest up after he finished the game unable to take goal kicks.

He said: "We’ll see how he is over the next few days. He’s got to rest but he’ll be determined to play.

"You saw Danny Kedwell dropping in at centre-half, you saw Freddy Moncur go on for Jack Payne and it’s nice to get the young 17-year-old boy (Omar) involved.

"It’s always nice when you’ve got someone local and a young age coming into the team, it gives everybody a great lift at the football club.

"Freddy Moncur is another young player, so it’s nice.

"As a manager, you do feel sorry for some of these boys who sit there sometimes and come to away games and don’t get minutes but Freddy’s earned those minutes and I was pleased to see him out there.

"There were one or two very good passes, he got in there in the middle of midfield and did the job fine.

"We’ll get everybody in Thursday morning, we’ll have a roll call, see what we’ve got for the weekend and go from there."

Read the match report from Ebbsfleet's 3-0 win over Maidenhead

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