Kingstonian boss Alan Dowson believes the Kingsmeadow pitch will be the greatest of all levellers when Ryman Premier League title rivals Maidstone United pay a visit tomorrow.
While Ks were kicking their heels this week as games at Grays Athletic and Bury Town were postponed due to the weather, United were thrashing in-form Hampton & Richmond Borough 7-2 on their 3G pitch at the weekend.
The Kingsmeadow surface has hosted AFC Wimbledon games against Exeter City and Hartlepool United in that time.
And Dowson, whose men crashed 2-1 to Met Police
last time out, reckoned the Stones could be in for a rude awakening.
“Maidstone are a fantastic club with a great manager and great support,” he said.
“They have a huge advantage at home and, really, the league is only fair if everybody can have an astroturf pitch like them.
“I fancied Hampton to get a result at the weekend, which shows you how much I know.
“The pitch is as much part of the game as the players and it will be a great leveller when we get them here. It will be 11 versus 11, on a pitch neither side will be particularly comfortable with.”
United might have smashed seven goals past the Beavers, but Dowson backs his men to rise to the challenge.
Goals from Andre McCollin and Daniel Sweeney accounted for current Ryman Premier League leaders Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 the last time they faced a top five team on home turf.
And Dowson reckons that shows his men relish the big occasion.
“Seasons hang on games like this one,” said the manager.
“There will be a big crowd and it is a big occasion for us.
“Hopefully, it will be nice and open, which will suit us, and we can give it a good crack.
“We performed the last time we were in this situation and, as a player, if you cannot enjoy a game like this then I don’t know why you’d play the game in the first place.”
Dowson hopes winger Charlie Knight is fully fit for the clash and admitted recent postponements had given his squad the chance to shake off any niggles.
“We are going to have a lot of games to play in a short space of time, so we are going to need everyone fit,” he said.
“But it will be the same for everyone, so we are not too concerned.”
Striker Javlon Campbell’s Kingstonian exit was as much to do with the bad weather as anything else.
Campbell joined Ryman Premier League strugglers Cray Wanderers this week with his former manager’s blessing.
Postponements have meant finances are tight at Kingsmeadow and with Ryan Moss and Andre McCollin leading the line, Dowson admitted Ks could not afford to keep the ex-Chipstead man on his books.
“Javlon is a bright young lad who needs games and Cray needed a striker, so this move makes sense,” he said.
“The postponements mean we cannot afford to keep everyone, so we have to wheel and deal. We have not got any injuries and Ryan and Andrew are still firing them in.”