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Ford pleased with unbeaten start
GRAVESEND & Northfleet's quietly confident start to the new Nationwide Conference season has left manager Andy Ford reflecting on what a difference a year can make, writes Tony Hudd.
This time last term, the Fleet had still to put a point on the board after three games and suffered four consecutive defeats against Burton Albion, Woking, Halifax Town and Telford United before stopping the rot with a 2-1 success at Farnborough Town.
It proved to be a false dawn, however, as they lost their next two games against Chester City and Scarborough before settling.
This season, the Fleet presently reside in the top half of the table after three games without defeat and Saturday's impressive 3-1 win at Morecambe, hoisted the club into ninth place.
Ford, however, is too experienced to get carried away at such an early stage.
As he prepared for Saturday's first visit to Stonebridge Road of relegated Football League club York City, he insisted it was far too early to read too much into the jockeying for early league positions.
"These are very early days and while I'm pleased with the start to the season, I believe nothing can be read into results until a side has played ten games," he said.
"We're all pleased to be in the top half of the table, especially the players, because that breeds confidence.
"What we have to do is be a little bit more professional and learn to shut up shop after letting leads slip against Northwich and Canvey."
Skipper Steve McKimm, Graham Porter and Andy Drury are all nursing minor knocks but are expected to be fit to face York on Saturday.
But midfielder Jimmy Jackson is doubtful with a shin injury sustained last week in training.
He underwent an X-ray which revealed no break. Matt Rouse is away on holiday so Justin Skinner continues to deputise at left-back.
On Bank Holiday Monday, Gravesend play away to bottom club Forest Green Rovers, who are still waiting for their first point.
Gravesend & Northfleet vs York City
Saturday 28 August 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet