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Dartford setting the standard in National South but play-offs are Steve King's principal aim


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Dartford manager Steve King’s priority this season remains to secure a play-off place.

Darts are two points clear at the top of National South after a flying start to the campaign.

Dartford manager Steve King Picture: Chris Davey
Dartford manager Steve King Picture: Chris Davey

They were too good for nearest challengers Maidstone in the FA Cup on Saturday, winning 3-0 at the Gallagher Stadium.

Their performance, albeit in a different competition, highlighted the standard other teams need to reach to challenge for promotion.

Darts return to league action at home to Hungerford this Saturday and, while more than happy with his squad, King has been around too long to start getting carried away with title talk.

“There’s up to 10 teams for the seven spaces that can challenge,” he said. “And I don’t look beyond getting in those seven spaces. Anything more is a bonus. I’ve always worked that way.

“If we can make the play-offs, that’s job No.1. Whatever else comes after that is a bonus.

Dartford eased to victory at Maidstone last weekend Picture: Chris Davey
Dartford eased to victory at Maidstone last weekend Picture: Chris Davey

“There’s 99 points still to play for and I’ve always said it’s where you finish, now how you start, but it’s nice to have a good start rather than a poor one.”

Darts’ strength in depth could be key to their chances of a successful season.

The manager has changed up his side, knowing he has the players to make it work.

“We’ve picked different sides all the time,” said King. “What we’ve got is a group we can interchange.

“We’ve got a very talented group. We could take one out and it won’t make any difference.

“I’ve got a good feeling about the team. We can definitely challenge - definitely - but that’s all I’d say at the moment.

Ade Azeez gives Dartford a 3-0 lead at Maidstone in the FA Cup on Saturday Picture: Chris Davey
Ade Azeez gives Dartford a 3-0 lead at Maidstone in the FA Cup on Saturday Picture: Chris Davey

“It’s a good side and we can look around and go, ‘Can we change the game?’and we go, ‘Yeah, we’ve got him, he change it, he can change it.’

“We’ve got players that can change the game and that’s always nice as a manager.

“I think a lot of managers will say they’ve got 13 players and then they look behind and think they can’t being ones on to change the game.

“But I think we’ve got players that make us even stronger in certain situations.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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