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Dartford FC boss Tony Burman rallies his players for the play-offs

By Steve Tervet

Tony Burman admits he will need to lift his Dartford players for Sunday's play-off showdown at Princes Park.

Darts missed out on automatic promotion last weekend after finishing second to Havant & Waterlooville on goal-difference.

Now they face Braintree for a place in the National League South final.

Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton

Burman said: "We had a chat and I told the guys to keep their heads up because everyone's proud of them.

"The most important game is Sunday and that's what we've got to aim for.

"There's no shame in what's happened. We're disappointed we haven't reached the target but we're not downhearted because we've now got another chance to go up via the play-offs.

"We're 12 points in front of the team that's third and so are Havant.

"I'm old school; yes, it's made it interesting in the play-offs but the two best sides should go up."

Two-legged ties have been scrapped at this level so the semi-final will be settled on Sunday.

Burman said: "Whether that works or not, I don't know. It's a different type of situation but if ever we're going into a game in good shape, nine wins on the bounce is a good time to go in.

"We're a good side and we don't fear anybody but we've got to show everybody respect. Sunday is a big game and hopefully we can win it."

Dartford, like Havant, took 86 points from 42 games but their goal-difference of +37 was inferior to the Hawks by three.

Burman said: "I'm delighted with what we've achieved so far this year and it's not finished yet. We have to move on.

"We had a great Christmas spell and a reasonable January but in February we dropped some points.

"We had two defeats when I wanted to kick on. That's what I like to do, to make the gap bigger, but we didn't.

"Havant caught us up but to be fair, they didn't take the bull by the horns either.

"Nine wins on the trot in the last couple of months has been brilliant but you've got to give Havant some credit.

"They've gone to places like Chelmsford and Welling and got a result when I was probably thinking they might have got a point.

"We averaged just over two points a game and I felt that would win it.

"But Havant have done the same thing and it's been a great battle."

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