Westley almost on bench for Ebbsfleet clash

Boro boss Graham Westley almost named himself on the substitutes bench before his side s 1-0 win against Ebbsfleet United as injuries and suspensions take their toll on his squad. The 40-year-old was ready to register himself to play before Mitchell Col

Boro boss Graham Westley almost named himself on the substitutes' bench before his side's 1-0 win against Ebbsfleet United as injuries and suspensions take their toll on his squad.

The 40-year-old was ready to register himself to play before Mitchell Cole declared himself fit but the winger recovered sufficiently to take his place on the left wing and bag the winner.

But Westley admitted his squad is down to its bare bones, so much so, that even first team coach Dino Maamria made an appearance as he had to do without the likes of David Bridges (knee), Andy Drury (hamstring), Ronnie Henry (calf/paternity leave), Lee Boylan (virus), Darren Murphy (suspension), Mark Roberts (suspension) and Michael Bostwick (suspension).

"It's been very difficult," he told The Comet. "I was very nearly on the bench myself today. That shows just how we are resource-wise so it's been a tough period.


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"We had set ourselves up yesterday on the assumption that Mitchell Cole wasn't going to be fit because we didn't think he would be.

"He had a late fitness test today and was miraculously available - it's amazing what a good night's sleep can do!

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"But you pick up knocks at this time of the season when you're playing Saturday-Tuesday so preparation has been difficult."

Cole's inclusion in the starting line-up proved vital as it was his moment of quality in the 31st minute that proved the difference between the two sides.

"It's bizarre to think that he wasn't playing this morning and then he plays and goes and gets the winner - it was a fabulous goal.

"It's everything that Mitchell Cole is all about - great pace, excellent technical ability, beating people and a really high quality finish.

"That's his 14th of the season and he's a massive asset for us."

Westley also paid tribute to his side's defensive performance as Mark Albrighton slotted in seamlessly at the heart of the back four in place of Mark Roberts, who missed out after this red card against Cambridge on Tuesday night.

But it was the performance of Albrighton's partner, Jon Ashton, that really caught the eye with the former Grays man showing just why Westley tried to get him to The Lamex Stadium as soon as he was re-appointed last summer.

"As a back four I think Lawrie Wilson, Mark Albrighton, Jon Ashton and Scott Laird were almost faultless.

"They were all exceptional today and did their job in a really professional way. They earned us the points where the rest of the display was a little bit ragged."

Boro's three points were made all the sweeter as play-off rivals Torquay, Histon and Kidderminster all dropped points while the returns of Roberts and Murphy from suspension should ease Westley's selection worries a little for the trip to Crawley on Monday.

The Boro chief, however, is not concerned what other teams are doing as he knows if his side keep winning then a place in the top five awaits.

"It's not about what they do, it's simply about what we do. Hopefully we can be responsible for them dropping points because we're playing them.

"If we win our games we'll get in the play-offs. If we get in the play-offs then we've got a great chance of winning promotion.

"Our mentality is simply about winning our next game and getting ourselves right for Monday.

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