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Ebbsfleet United boss Dennis Kutrieb backs winger Craig Tanner to consistently chip in with goals throughout the rest of the season

Manager Dennis Kutrieb is backing Ebbsfleet winger Craig Tanner to chip in consistently with goals throughout the rest of the season.

Tanner struck twice in a 3-1 victory at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday as Ebbsfleet moved back to the National League South summit, while striker Dominic Poleon also struck.

Ebbsfleet celebrate Craig Tanner's second goal at Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Ebbsfleet celebrate Craig Tanner's second goal at Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

Ex-Motherwell man Tanner has only scored four times this term - but the Fleet boss reckons there is more to come from him.

Kutrieb said: "He is quality. He can score goals all day long.

"At the moment, he hasn’t scored lots of goals for us - they were numbers three and four.

"But in the second-half of the season, I think we will definitely see more goals from him.

"It’s not so much about experience, it’s more about his quality.

"He has, not just the experience, but pure quality as well in his finishing."

Ebbsfleet will have to wait until next weekend for their next match - at in-form Dorking - due to St Albans’ involvement in the FA Trophy.

Kutrieb, who is hoping to arrange a friendly during their two-week break, admitted: “I would say it’s a little bit unfortunate because, when you can’t play, you always want to play - you always want to keep going, especially when you have good momentum like we have.

“We’re not really happy about it but it is what it is. So of course, we use the time to have training sessions, maybe play a friendly, and then we can keep on going from there.

“We can at least be prepared for the games coming up because we have four games in 10 days, so it’s a very big and intense period that is upcoming.”

Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb. Picture: Chris Davey
Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb. Picture: Chris Davey

The match against Hemel was the first of three successive games on artificial pitches for Fleet, who take on rivals Maidstone three days after their clash against Marc White's Dorking.

Kutrieb reckons his squad prefer playing on grass - but praised their adaptability.

He explained: “We always love to play at home on our grass pitch. I think that’s what the boys love the most.

“But they love to play on 3G as well.

"Sometimes, we have to train on 3G with the weather the way it is at the moment. They are used to it and can adapt to it quite quickly because the quality is there.

“They know exactly how to react and act on the 3G. It’s not a big deal for them but, of course, we love to play on grass in general.

"It’s a little more like proper football than on a 3G but, like I say, the boys have enough quality to play games on a 3G pitch as well.”

Fleet’s extended break is hardly ideal preparation for a hectic period which will also see them play Hampton, before another crunch game against Dartford on February 1.

But Kutrieb stated: “In football, you can only deal with what is in front of you.

“Now, what is in front of us is to prepare for two weeks altogether - and that’s what we’ll use.

“Of course, I could now find excuses and complain. But Dorking is our next opponent and they play two more games - Saturday and Tuesday (before playing Ebbsfleet).

“So you can say ‘They won’t have a good recovery’ like us but, on the other hand, they are used to playing games.

"They are in the games. They are prepared because they play, play, play and that can help as well.

“But at the end of the day, we just look at us and try to make it as good as possible because that’s the only situation we can influence.

“We don’t need to look at the others, we just look at us.

"We can only try to get ready, try to get prepared and, from there, we go.”

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