Home comforts, or happy awaydays? You could forgive Eastbourne Borough Jamie Howell for being in two minds as he prepares his side to take on visitors Truro City tomorrow (Saturday) at Priory Lane.
The Sports have gathered seven wins, and 24 National South points, on the road this season – better than second-placed Dartford. But at Priory Lane, their meagre tally of four victories is scarcely better than tail-enders Whitehawk and Bognor.
“We are frustrated, but we actually don’t have a complex about it,” says Howell. “Once or twice it has been down to wretched luck, and often we find that visiting teams raise their game: a 3G pitch that plays true, and one of the nicest stadiums at semi-pro level. Some opponents – Gloucester City were an example last time out – set up to keep us at bay, and snatch a goal.”
Truro City are next up, and the promotion-chasing White Tigers will certainly not roll over. “Truro are in really good shape. They have won their last three, including a 1-0 this week over the leaders Havant, and they have a straightforward attacking style. It won’t be a dull game!”
But Borough’s own form is buoyant. An excellent away win at Bath City put distance between them and the drop zone, and continuity is the key, thinks Jamie. “In the last few games, I have made hardly any changes to the starting 11. Players know their own roles and they know what to expect from others. We always had ability, but now we have a pattern and we have a belief.
With Wealdstone in FA Trophy action, the Sports had no National South fixture last Saturday – but nobody was taking the other half shopping. “We took the first-team squad up to Ebbsfleet for a closed-doors friendly. It was really useful and after two further training sessions this week, we are nicely primed for Truro City.”
Full-back Will Hendon played 45 minutes at Stonebridge Road as he recovers from his pulled hamstring, and there are no other injury issues.
After Saturday’s Truro encounter, they head to North London on Monday evening (7.45) for the re-arranged fixture at Wealdstone.
The Stones came away from their Trophy first leg at Brackley Town with a narrow 0-1 deficit – and with a Wembley final in sight, their Grosvenor Vale ground is sure to witness a battle royal in the second leg on Saturday. Not, of course, that Howell will be hoping for extra time and penalties, and an utterly drained Wealdstone squad on Monday night....