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Dartford FC boss Tony Burman believes his squad is good enough to make the National League South play-offs

By Steve Tervet

Tony Burman has called on everyone at Dartford to pull together as the club starts another promotion push in National League South.

The manager admitted last season represented a missed opportunity as his side finished eighth, five points outside the play-offs.

Burman believes his squad have what it takes to break the top-five this time but knows it will take a real team effort over the next nine months.

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Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture Andy Payton

Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton

He said: "I’m hoping this squad are good enough to be getting into the play-off positions.

"I’ve got to get them together, new friendships are starting and there’s nothing better than having a team pulling in the same direction.

"The message has always been, every season I’ve started with Dartford, on and off the field, let’s stick together and hopefully by doing that we’ll have a successful team. Players, staff and supporters have had time to recharge the batteries and that has got be a positive. Let’s all start again and give it our best shot.

"I still get excited, I still want to do well and believe I can still do well and get a team together to be successful again at the club."

Dartford start at home to Wealdstone on Saturday when Tom Bonner will make his second debut for the club. The centre-half left Ebbsfleet after their play-off final defeat to Maidstone and phoned Burman to ask about rejoining the club he left in 2013.

Bonner and Keaton Wood bolster a defence which has been shorne of Lee Burns and Callum McNaughton, while Alex Brown has replaced Barry Cogan in central midfield.

Recent arrivals Luke Wanadio and Ellis Brown offer pace down the flanks and Burman completed a deal for target man Duane Ofori-Acheampong on Tuesday night.

He said: "I didn’t think I had too much to do because I managed to sign 12 of the players two weeks after the season finished and that gave us the nucleus of the squad.

"It allowed me to wait a little while to pick out one or two players I felt we needed.

"We’ve added players to the squad which are going to help us improve. One or two have come in recent weeks. We are still missing a striker but hopefully we might have that before Saturday."

As for the likely title challengers, one name is on everyone’s lips.

"Ebbsfleet are going to be up there," Burman said. "Daryl (McMahon) does a great
job there. He’s under a different kind of pressure and he’s handled himself well with what he’s had to do and the disappointment of last year.

"It’s a penalty kick that’s not got them promoted. I know what he’s going through.

"We tend to say we don’t feel sorry for anyone and you shouldn’t because it’s football and it happens but I know the emotions other managers go through. I’ve been through them many times myself.

"There’s one or two other good sides who I think are going to be involved again."

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