It is a little frustrating that after expecting the trio of Hall, Little and Edwards back at this stage that all of them have sustained further injuries taking them out for another month apart from Little who will need 10 weeks which puts him out until sometime in January. Connor is also long-term injured until around the middle of December.
All quality players that you would expect to be in the side when fit but there is no denying that we are playing exceptionally well without them with seven wins out of eight. Our performance levels have been kept up with Johnson adding to the squad since the start of the season to achieve this with Whitfield, Cundy and now Janneh coming in with the latter just given permission to play in this competition. We now have 6 loanees on our books with a maximum of five in the matchday squad but injuries hasn’t seen this restriction come into play.
To some extent, these injuries have made Johnson selection decisions that bit easier and I would be surprised if we don’t start with the same team that put Halifax to the sword last week. With up to 7 subs allows I will be interested to see if Keating and Duku make an appearance there with Koszela and Slough also available to add to the squad so that we can see who is available.
Although we are on an artificial pitch, the fact we train on one and had experience of this last year in particular shouldn’t make this a significant issue although it may take time to bed in at the start of the match.
Maidstone do have experience in this side and of course were only relegated from the National league last year but if we play like we have been playing then there is a strong chance of winning this game. We are after all, National League South champions and much improved from last year, partly with additions from last year but mainly from a very young squad being a year older with all that match day experience of winning the league and then playing and competing in the next one above.
However, we went out relatively early last season as well and it turned into a big positive for us so hope we can do that again. Lewis played well at left back and remains to be seen whether he can cover for Davis as suspect his could be a long term injury.
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.