The Hoops have the chance to underline their improvement over the past 12 months when they meet Erith Town at the Charles Ground on Saturday.
In last season’s corresponding fixture on January 28 Deal were beaten 4-2, a result which left them struggling in 18th place in the Southern Counties East League table.
Nearly a year on, and Derek Hares’ side know that victory in this weekend’s game could see the Hoops jump to fourth place in the table following victories in their last two away games at Bearsted and Chatham Town. Hares said: “At the moment we’ve got a good team spirit and I get the feeling people are quite happy to be playing.
“On our day we’re capable of beating any team in the league but we’ve still got that vulnerability, the age thing, which means you can lose games as well. We know that, but we’ve played some good football. You can never fault the lads’ effort and commitment and, once you’ve got that, you’ve got a chance.”
Luke Bigginton and Joe Reeves return to the squad on Saturday after missing the Chatham game while Charlie Walsh could also make a welcome comeback after being sidelined by injury for over two months.