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Dartford manager Tony Burman says return to non-league's top flight is no pipe dream

By Matthew Panting

Dartford boss Tony Burman sees no reason why the club can’t return to non-league’s top flight.

The Darts dropped out of the National League South play-off places after losing to rivals Ebbsfleet on New Year’s Day.

But Burman believes his team are good enough to finish in the top five – knowing play-off final glory would see them compete alongside county rivals Dover and Maidstone again.

Dartford boss Tony Burman believes a return to non-league's top flight is a realistic aim Picture Andy Payton

Dartford boss Tony Burman believes a return to non-league's top flight is a realistic aim Picture: Andy Payton

“We have been there before and I don’t see why it can’t happen again,” said Burman.

“It’s somewhere where we (Dartford and Ebbsfleet) want to be. Both clubs want to be where Maidstone and Dover are and we want to be the ones on the television as well.

“We want to be up there, whether it happens this year or next, it has to be the target. If we do it, then we’ve got to be in a different position. We’ve got to be semi-professional rather than professional. We’re part-time at the moment and need to make that step.”

After a scoreline that didn’t reflect the performance at leaders Maidenhead, they have matched Ebbsfleet during the festive period. The key for Burman now will be to build on those displays.

“The standard has been set over the last two games," he said.

"We’ve played a good side and competed against them. If I’m one point behind Ebbsfleet at the end of the season, then I think we’ll be in the play-offs. That’s the target, to get into the play-offs and hopefully we can do it.”

Tom Wynter is still suspended for Saturday's visit of draw specialists East Thurrock to Princes Park so Danny Harris looks set to start at right-back after Tom Gardiner’s departure.

Read the full story in Thursday's Dartford Messenger.

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