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Manager Danny Searle hoping players can put adversity in perspective should his resurgent Ebbsfleet United side suffer dip in form

Ebbsfleet manager Danny Searle believes their biggest test is yet to come.

The Fleet have enjoyed a brilliant first month under Searle’s leadership, winning three games in a row to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.

Ebbsfleet’s Ben Chapman helps his side to a point at Chesterfield last month. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Ebbsfleet’s Ben Chapman helps his side to a point at Chesterfield last month. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

It’s dragged them out of the National League bottom four but it’s a congested table and any dip in form now could see Ebbsfleet plunge straight back into the danger zone.

Searle reckons it’s how they react to their first setback that will prove the biggest hurdle they need to overcome.

“I think the test for us is when it doesn’t go our way,” said the Fleet boss.

“What we’re trying to do is put in place an environment where you are allowed to lose a game because if your winning mentality was unless you win every week then you’re going to have problems.

“We are allowed to lose a game, we are allowed to draw a game and we are allowed to perform poorly.

“It’s a case of embrace that, own it and when it comes, we’ll be ready for it. We’ll slide it under the carpet, get it out of the building and move on.”

Searle is keeping tabs on the league table and the picture will become clearer in the next month as there’s still plenty of games between relegation rivals to be played.

But the overriding message is for his Ebbsfleet players to focus only on their results, knowing a continued upward curve will mean they won’t need to be looking nervously over their shoulders.

“I will look, of course, as you want to see who’s doing what,” said Searle.

“We’ve had a positive start and we’ll hopefully kick on from there. It’s been a fantastic February, we’re unbeaten in February and we’ve got three clean sheets and three wins.

“We’ve put some points on the board that have made it a little bit easier going into March but obviously we’re not stupid as March is going to be a difficult month.

“It's weird, this league, as it could end up being less than last year or more. March is interesting as a lot of sides around us are playing each other so you could see some really drop off.

“It’s just a tough league but we’ve got to focus on ourselves. The position we’ve put ourselves in now, if we keep doing our business then we don’t need to worry about anyone else.”

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Meanwhile, Searle has urged his players to have fun on and off the pitch.

The Fleet boss’ positive outlook has already rubbed off on his squad and they appear a lot happier after an unbeaten month under his tenure.

Searle explained: “We’ve got to see each other every day so let’s come in and enjoy it, have some fun. The table tennis table is back, the darts board is back.

“When I came in they’d been put away and I think there’s a camaraderie around the group. If you’re going to buy a coffee, don’t sit in there, come back to the club and we’ll sit and have a chat about things and get to know each other a bit better.

“I know that’s a stupid thing to say because quite a lot of these boys have been together for a while but you’re hearing conversations and thinking ‘I didn’t know that’ when they’re talking to each other. There’s just small details and the longer that continues then the stronger we’ll get.

“I can’t comment on what was before but I can only comment on the first couple of days in the club and it was pretty much they did their work. They didn’t skive off but they then left the club and now it seems that people want to be around.

“I like being up and amongst it, listening to conversations and finding out about their families, listening to what they’re talking about. They’re having banter that isn’t just football-related, it’s life.

“Myself and Anwar (Uddin, assistant manager) had a really good chat on [last] Friday with Dom Poleon and Raks as they didn’t really know what Anwar’s background was like.

“It was an eye-opener and then you listen to Raks talking about liking the tactical side of the game, little things you don’t know unless you sit and make the time to have conversations with them.”

Ebbsfleet are at home to Rochdale in the National League this Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

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