You can see it in their eyes, they really want it, says Cray Wanderers boss Danny Kedwell

Friday 26th November 2021

DANNY KEDWELL says he’s experiencing ups and downs in his first spell in football management.

The 38-year-old has taken charge of 14 league games at Cray Wanderers and the club are sitting in the bottom three in the Isthmian League Premier Division table, having picked up three wins and two draws.

Cray Wanderers picked up a point in a high-tempo, entertaining 2-2 draw against promotion-chasing side Folkestone Invicta at Hayes Lane on Wednesday night.

“It’s been very up and down at the minute, obviously trying to get a squad together,” said Kedwell, who had to rebuild a squad for scratch after Tony Russell left for league rivals Lewes during the summer.

“It’s been very tough trying to get the team I want and the players’ I want and explaining to everyone what I want in a game, work-ethic and stuff.

“The last three weeks I’ve gone away thinking ‘I’m happy with this squad’, we’re going to keep working and it’s going to be very interesting.

“The boys won’t be where we are (bottom three in the league table) and that’s how much I believe in them.”

After four seasons at Gillingham, scoring 45 goals in 136 games, Kedwell accepted a lucrative deal at Ebbsfleet United and scored 66 goals in 206 appearances for the Stonebridge Road outfit between 2014-2019.

Kedwell now runs the Academy at National League South side Ebbsfleet United, who come to Hayes Lane tomorrow in The FA Trophy Second Round.

“It’s going to be a very good game, especially from being there,” said Kedwell.

“Dennis Kutrieb has come in and he’s changed the whole club. You can see it. I’m there day-to-day as well.  I work in the Academy.  The transition from the last 18 months, he’s done magnificent. 

“They’re a very good side, so it’s going to be a very tough game for us.  It’s going to be very tough.  They keep the ball well, they’re very comfortable, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them and seeing the fans as well. I haven’t seen them for a few years now and they were very good to me, so it will be very nice to see them as well.”

Anthony Cook, who scored Cray Wanderers’ first goal against Neil Cugley’s side in midweek, a 35-yard screamer, went off with a suspected hamstring injury, while Andy Drury sat out the game.

“I had no Andy Drury, hopefully he’s back for Saturday,” revealed Kedwell.

“He’s very experienced and a very good footballer, you ain’t going to get better in this league. The things he does, that’s why he’s played in the Championship and he was a big miss on Wednesday night.”

When asked how he felt coming up against his former club, Kedwell admitted: “It’s one I didn’t really want to be honest. They’re very close to me.  I do the Academy and Dennis has come in, he’s turned that team around from where it was before I left and he’s done magnificent.

“Dennis is a top manager, to come over from a different country and he’s come in and he’s got the philosophy straight away. It’s not easy to come over from Germany to England and playing in the lower leagues to get his style and he sticks to it. He doesn’t change it and he sticks to his philosophy and he’s got a very good squad there.”

Kedwell has asked his side to “compete” against their full-time opponents.

“We’ve just got to compete. We have to deal with them moving the ball. They’re a very good passing team and we just have to make sure we’re concentrating for 95 minutes and like everyone knows, you don’t know what can happen in cup games.

“The boys have got that heart, they’ve got good heart and they want to work for each other and they want to work for us, the coaching staff.    You can see it in their eyes and body language, they really want it.”

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Cray Wanderers  v  Ebbsfleet United
The Buildbase FA Trophy Second Round
Saturday 27 November 2021
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF