Gloucester v Eastbourne Borough: Away form has Howell in confident mood

Jamie Howell
Jamie Howell

Eastbourne Borough will look to maintain their fine recent away form as they head westwards tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm) for a National South contest with Gloucester City.

Gloucester, homeless since 2007 when the River Severn flooded and devastated their ground, should finally be back in their home city by this time next year.

But in the meantime they ground-share at Evesham – a round trip of 390 miles. It brings Borough’s total mileage so far this season to almost 2,000 miles.

“It’s a good thing we all get on!” smiled boss Jamie Howell this week ahead of boarding the bus yet again. “

“You can call it team bonding. The spirit on the away trips has been terrific. It helps when you’re winning. We are undefeated in six away matches so far. If the away team is playing with confidence, it instantly raises the pressure on the home team and home fans. It’s general wisdom that a point away from home is a a good point, but we now travel looking for three.

“Gloucester are a very fit and physical side so we will need to work hard. The players are still cross with themselves for pretty much gifting the points to Slough Town in our last league game, so we have something to put right there.”

Like the Sports, the Tigers defeated lower-league opposition in the FA Cup last weekend, dispensing with Plymouth Parkway 3-1 – including a goal from newly-signed French ace Fabien Robert, just 17 seconds into his debut. Robert, whose CV includes a hat-trick in the French Liga 1 against St Etienne, is on loan from Forest Green Rovers, and manager Marc Richards is hoping he will raise the scoring ratio in a rather goal-shy City team. Borough grabbed all three points at the Jubilee Ground last December with goals from Ian Simpemba and Jamie Taylor, but it is the new generation of forwards that Jamie must look to now.

“I’ve been pleased that the goals are being shared around nicely. All my three main strikers – Odubade, Walker and Dawes – are off the mark, and we can confidently start with any two of those three, knowing we have strike power in reserve. With the likes of Dean Cox, Mike West and David Martin chipping in too, the goals are coming from all over.”

Yemi Odubade saw Borough through a tricky cup tie at Brantham with a smart close-range winner. “Yep, that one was a poacher’s goal and I had to be quick!” chuckled the evergreen striker afterwards. “I was scoring goals like that for Town and Borough at 17. I may be thirty-something now, but pull my boots on and I feel just like a kid! Goalscorers never lose that appetite.

“Last season my form was a bit up and down, but that was mainly down to the long injury spell in the middle of the season. The Gaffer’s freshened up the squad, which has helped me a lot, and I’m finding three o’clock on a Saturday can’t come quickly enough. I absolutely love this club!”

Marvin Hamilton will have a late check on his sore Achilles, but otherwise Howell has no injury concerns.