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Boss Dennis Kutrieb says Mark Cousins, Josh Wright and Darren McQueen will strengthen Ebbsfleet United's nous all over the park

Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb believes adding more experience to the spine of his squad will help their push for honours this season.

The Fleet boss has snapped up veteran goalkeeper Mark Cousins from National League Bromley, central midfielder Josh Wright and forward Darren McQueen.

Josh Wright, in blue, takes on Ebbsfleet's Adam Mekki last season while playing for Billericay. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Josh Wright, in blue, takes on Ebbsfleet's Adam Mekki last season while playing for Billericay. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

They’re three impressive signings for Kutrieb and the Fleet boss was keen to add extra nous to help guide his players through the different challenges ahead in National League South.

“We lacked a little bit of ruthlessness and getting it over the line in certain situations and certain games,” said Kutrieb.

“Obviously when we saw what was on the table, then we made a decision to go in the spine of the team and find more experience.”

It’s a return to Stonebridge Road for McQueen, who scored 20 goals in his first season at the Fleet.

Spells at Sutton, Dartford and Dagenham followed while he featured for Dulwich last season, scoring against Kutrieb’s side in the process.

He’s likely to feature predominantly as a wide player in attack, although he will get his chance down the middle in pre-season.

“We will see during pre-season where he causes the biggest problems for opponents and can be the biggest threat,” said the Fleet boss.

“I think with his pace and technical ability he could be a big help on the wing, that’s what I think at the moment, but I need to see him close up.

“For me what really made me happy is that he can play the wide role. He’s not just a striker, he can do both so I can play him in different positions - that’s a good option for me.”

Wright also gives Kutrieb options. He was used predominantly as a holding midfielder by Billericay but can also play a more attacking role and has an eye for a goal.

“That’s what we will see in pre-season, if he is better as a holding or a box-to-box midfielder,” explained Kutrieb. “Josh has experience and has shown what he is able to do.

“I don’t care if he plays as holding or box-to-box as I think he can do both, and he can score goals as well. We will see what chemistry works best but I think he’s a perfect fit for us.”

Out of the three, perhaps Kutrieb is most satisfied with the signing of Cousins - the first time he has signed a vastly experienced goalkeeper in his three seasons at Stonebridge Road.

“From the early beginning, it was always the situation that I tried to find an experienced goalkeeper,” said Kutrieb.

“Louie Moulden was outstanding but very young, but before that we always had just a little bit of experience or very young or something in between and I was never 100% happy. I’ve always been looking and had to try and find the right fit for our team.

“It’s maybe the first time now, in the third recruitment period, that we’ve found a goalkeeper exactly what we had looked for and that gives me much confidence.

“He was definitely one of the top three keepers in the National League. I’ve seen him play nearly 10 times over the last two years and he was always one of the best players on the pitch.

“It’s not easy that I say it because normally I am never happy with goalkeepers, even other managers’ keepers!

“But he was always very good and there was never something that he lacked. He was communicating, giving security, always positive and helping his back four or back three.

“I was delighted that from when we first met that he made his decision and it was clear for him and me. You could see straight away that there was no playing games or uncertainty. Sometimes when you talk to players, they are never sure or they just want to wait for better options when they haven’t been with us before.

“He was very clear in his approach and explained to me what he wanted to do.”

Fleet’s players start pre-season training this weekend and Kutrieb is delighted to have his squad back together.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he stated. “We’ve had four or five weeks off but the boys have already been working individually.

“To see them and work with them on a daily basis will be great for me. We can see where we’re at straight away and get ready to go again.”

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