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Dartford manager Tony Burman looking for another striker to support Andy Pugh and academy forward Ben Francis

By Steve Tervet

An experienced centre-forward is top of Dartford manager Tony Burman’s shopping list this summer.

Burman released George Sykes earlier this month while Tom Bradbrook rejected a new deal because of work commitments.

That leaves Andy Pugh and academy striker Ben Francis as the Darts’ main attacking options, although they will expect captain Elliot Bradbrook to score plenty from midfield.

Andy Pugh is in his third season at Dartford Picture: Andy Payton

Burman said: "Yes, I want to have a striker. Everyone’s saying about goalscorers but Pughy has signed and Pughy, on form, is a good striker and will score goals. It’s as simple as that.

"Ben, is he ready? I don’t know but he’s earned an option on his contract and I’ll be looking for an experienced player who can play up there.

"It’s nice to say they’re going to score 20-30 goals a season but they are hard to come by. We’ll be speaking to those sort of people.

"I’ve met with a lot of new players but because they’re good players, they’re talking to other clubs as well.

"I’ve made my pitch to them and we’ll see what happens. I hope they come back and hopefully they’ll sign for us. If not, we’ll move on to the next target.

"I’ve had good meetings with some really good players but I’ve got a nucleus and I won’t be rushing in to actually sign everyone just because it seems the 'in thing' to do.”

Burman, who has 11 players signed up for next season, has invited defenders Paul Lorraine and Callum McNaughton back for pre-season training.

McNaughton has accepted the offer but Lorraine are still deliberating.

Paul Lorraine has been invited to train with Dartford in pre-season Picture: Andy Payton

Burman said: "The reason that’s happening is because of injuries.

"Paul is a little bit different. He just came to help out, he wanted to come in and do a bit of training with us.

"He wants to get through a pre-season. He felt he played too many games on the injury he had from the previous club, so he’s thinking of coming back in."

Full-back Lee Burns has joined East Thurrock and midfielder Barry Cogan has been released.

Burman said: "Barry was a fitness thing as well. He had a shoulder injury at the start and didn’t get enough games.

"He’s a top guy and they’re difficult decisions but I have to make those decisions.

"Nobes (Lee Noble) has also had injuries but he got something like 25 games in. We’ve got to make sure he’s clear of injury for next season and starts afresh.

"Nobes is a major part of my plans and so is Elliot (Bradbrook).

"Elliot scored 18 goals last season and, for me, he’s the best goalscoring midfield player in this league. We’ve signed him which is a major coup."

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