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Dartford's bid for for Gillingham defender Connor Essam fails

Connor Essam

Steve Tervet

Dartford manager Tony Burman admits the club’s part-time status is hindering his hunt for new signings after failing to bring defender Connor Essam back to the club from Gillingham.

The 20-year-old (pictured) impressed during a loan stay at Princes Park at the start of last year. He also made nine appearances during a two-month spell with Dartford’s Blue Square Bet Premier rivals Luton Town earlier this season.

Essam is expected to leave Priestfield before the end of the month after Gills manager Martin Allen made him available on a free transfer but he looks unlikely to re-join the Darts.

Burman said: "We have enquired about Connor. The situation there has changed slightly because he’s been made available for transfer at a full-time club. He’s talking to other clubs in the league that are full-time and I can’t blame him for that.

"He’s worked hard and yes, we did enquire but it didn’t come off. Circumstances have changed now, he’s on the transfer list and his agent is looking for a full-time club."

With an FA Trophy quarter-final at Halifax to prepare for and league games coming thick and fast, transfer business remains top of Burman’s agenda. However, in a division top-heavy with professional former Football League clubs, Dartford do not start their negotiations from a position of strength.

Burman confirmed: "We are talking to people. With the amount of games we’ve got coming up, we need to add some people to the squad."

On Saturday, Dartford travel to face Hereford United, a side they beat 4-0 at Princes Park in September.

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