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Christmas schedule is crucial - Daish insists Grays and Hayes clashes will have a big say'

PUBLISHED: 16:50 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:20 23 August 2010

LIAM Daish expects the Fleet s festive fixtures to have a big say on whether they sink or swim in the Blue Square Premier this season. Ebbsfleet face fellow strugglers Grays Athletic home and away over the Christmas and New Year period, with a trip to

LIAM Daish expects the Fleet's festive fixtures to have "a big say" on whether they sink or swim in the Blue Square Premier this season.

Ebbsfleet face fellow strugglers Grays Athletic home and away over the Christmas and New Year period, with a trip to 17th-placed Hayes and Yeading sandwiched in between on Bank Holiday Monday.

The results in those three titanic tussles will determine whether Daish's men sail or stumble into 2010 and nobody is more aware of that than the boss himself.

"Both games against Grays are going to be important, along with the Hayes and Yeading match as well," the Fleet manager told the Reporter.

"We're trying to prepare the lads as best we can and, hopefully, we'll have enough on the days in question. The fixtures over Christmas will have a big say on things. It won't make or break our season, but I think it will have a big say.

"We might be looking back in the summer at the run we had over Christmas against these teams and, hopefully, be able to pinpoint that as a time where we got something positive out of it - points-wise and results-wise - which gave us a little bit of momentum going into the New Year."

Fundamental to the Fleet's chances will be how the players get ready for the treble header, with Daish insisting they maintain their professional standards and don't succumb to seasonal excess.

"We've got to approach every game in the right way mentally over the Christmas schedule," he said.

"It's important that we remain focused on the job in hand and keep our discipline, while everybody else is probably partying and enjoying themselves."

Ebbsfleet enter the fray on the back of successive defeats to the Blue Square Premier's top two, Oxford and Stevenage, in the league and FA Trophy respectively.

However, having previously proved capable of beating the likes of Mansfield and Graham Westley's Borough outfit, Daish is demanding his men return to their prior form.

"We've just got to make sure we get consistency to our game from now on in," the 41-year-old explained. "We're not going to win every game and - although we lost the two matches against Oxford and Stevenage - we've got to learn by them and make sure we don't go on a similar run like we had earlier because we cannot afford to do that."

Daish will welcome back Clint Easton (hamstring) into the fold, albeit his player/assistant boss Paul McCarthy (back) may only have a "stop-gap" role for the rest of this campaign.

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