Published: 06:00, 23 September 2021
Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb wants to see his players’ Sunday best this weekend.
Fleet have a blank Saturday so instead will train the following day in preparation for Tuesday’s rearranged National League South game at Chippenham.
Kutrieb’s side have lost their last two in the league - 2-1 at home to Havant and 3-0 at Hampton - and are keen to move on from those results.
If that means training on a Sunday, so be it.
“You can pretend to be a full-time footballer or you really are a full-time footballer - there’s a big difference,” said Kutrieb.
“For me, it’s not a problem at all to work during the weekend.
“When you get the rewards, everything’s good.”
Kutrieb says there is no pressure on Elliott Romain to deliver this season.
Romain came off the bench to score an 89th-minute winner in a 2-1 FA Cup second qualifying round victory at Carshalton last Saturday.
It was a first goal in Fleet colours for the former Dartford striker who will be given time to settle in at Stonebridge Road.
“When he came in I told him I would give him the whole season to get used to full-time football,” said Kutrieb.
“It’s easy to say you’re a full-time footballer but the body needs time to get used to it.
“It’s very different to being part-time and working really hard in another business.
“It’s another demand on the body and the mind and he needs time.
“I won’t judge him if he’s not scoring goals, I will give him the time he needs.
“He would be able to give you a better answer but I think it was good for him to hear that.
“My feeling is that he is very comfortable with us and he’s enjoying being with us and that could be because we’ve taken the pressure off him and we don’t say to him we’re relying on your goals.
“I think at Dartford last season he was under pressure to score goals and I could see he wasn’t the player he was the season before, when he scored lots of goals and there wasn’t much pressure on him.
“He still needs more time, and I can see that, but he’s putting in a lot of hard work and he deserved his goal on Saturday.”
Romain had only been on the pitch five minutes when he fired Fleet’s winner at Carshalton, setting up a trip to Aylesbury in the third qualifying round on October 2.
Kutrieb must decide whether the striker is more effective starting games or coming off the bench.
“It’s tough to say if he’s a sub or a starter at the moment,” said the Fleet boss.
“I see him as a very good character, a very humble player, he has a big heart and he’s such a nice guy. That’s the first thing to say about him.
“If he has more to give making an impact from the bench or starting, I’m not sure, but I think he can do both.
“For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a sub or a starting line-up player who scores, the most important thing is we win.”
Fleet handed debuts to goalkeeper Chris Haigh and midfielder Kreshnic Krasniqi as Rakish Bingham cancelled out Daniel Bassett’s early opener for Carshalton.
Krasniqi offers Fleet something different and Kutrieb liked what he saw. “He did exactly what I expected,” said the manager.
“He closed the gaps, won 50:50s, won his headers and played easy balls.
“That’s what we need and I know there’s a lot more to come from him when he’s settled in and his body is used to full-time football.
“He’s a good character, which is one of the reasons I brought him in.
“He’s not too proud to take on the dirty work - I really like his attitude.”
Ben Chapman was another player who caught the eye, impressing in defence and setting up Romain’s winner.
He’s also given Kutrieb plenty to think about. “He’s very versatile and we can put him in many different positions,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a perfect position for him because of his ability to be versatile. Wherever we put him on the pitch, he puts a big shift in and tries to be the best version of himself.”