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Dartford caretaker manager Tony Burman says entire first-team squad start afresh while he remains in charge

Caretaker Dartford manager Tony Burman insists the slate has been wiped clean for the squad he has inherited.

Burman has watched every first-team game so far this season in his role as a club director.

Tony Burman is due to return to the touchline for Dartford this weekend. Picture: Sean Aidan
Tony Burman is due to return to the touchline for Dartford this weekend. Picture: Sean Aidan

But he can only judge the players on what he sees under his stewardship and is keen that everyone gets a fresh start.

“I’ve not watched any training sessions, I stay out of the way of that, but I had watched every game we’ve played this season,” explained Burman.

“I enjoy that, sometimes I’m asked for my opinion and sometimes I’m not.

“I just feel that for me to have any sort of respect from the players, I’ve got to say to them that whatever has gone on in the past has gone and we have to wipe the slate clean.

“I’m not a director in this situation, I’m the manager. It’s important we give the players a fresh impetus and hopefully they respond to that.

“I think they were very close and they’ve been very unfortunate to concede goals after 90 minutes of games. We’ve been in good, winning positions and we’ve drawn games that we should have won.

“Everyone knows that and we need to remind the players what’s good and bad, what’s a good habit and what isn’t a good habit. That will help us through and that’s what we’re going to try and put across to them.”

With last weekend’s trip to Bath postponed due to a frozen pitch, Burman has yet to name a starting XI and have to leave people out of his side.

That all starts this Saturday at Princes Park when Dartford host Weymouth in National League South and Burman can’t wait to get going.

“I was disappointed not to have a game last weekend because everything we’ve done with the players at the moment has been positive,” he said.

“Once the games start, there’s obviously going to be players left out who want to play and that sort of situation. It’s not always going to be rosy, I’ve got no magic wand, but we’re just trying to do it in a nice, professional way to get our points across to the players.

“I hope they’ve taken things in, the slate is wiped clean and we’ll try and move forward in a positive way and get the players to believe in what we’re saying and the supporters get behind them as much as they can.”

Weymouth are in a similar position in the table under boss Bobby Wilkinson to the Darts.

Burman added: “We’ve got tough opponents as Weymouth are a good side and I’ve got a lot of time for their manager.

“Hopefully we’ve got some of our ideas across and if they take it in and work hard, that’s all I’m asking at this stage, that they work hard and listen to us.”

Co-chairman Steve Irving revealed last week that dwindling home crowds played a part in the decision to sack boss Alan Dowson.

This weekend represents the first opportunity for supporters to show their support for the club’s decision to make a managerial change.

“It's disappointing when you hear some of the stories that they’re not coming because of certain things,” said Burman.

“But I think you’ve also got to realise that it’s difficult out there at the moment and people may not be able to afford to come to as many games as they want to. I think we do have to take that into consideration.

“I want them to come back because they want to, I’m not sure how many people it is. We want them to get back to enjoying their day at Princes Park, enjoying their pint, enjoying the football and hopefully seeing the team win.

“I know lots of people have their opinion but supporters want to see their team win and if we can do that and bring a feel-good factor back into it then that’s what I’m looking for. If we can make the players happy off the field then I’m sure they’ll be happy on it.

“If we stick together then things can improve and we can climb up that table and get into a decent position. I’ve got no magic wand but let’s do the best for the club and I’m sure the players react to that.

“If the fans see people work hard then they’ll get behind them. We’ve got to concentrate for 95 or 98 minutes, there’s no good starting off fast and then we concede a goal at the end. We’ve got to be professional.

“I’m sure the players care and we’ve got to instil into them that they need to get the little things that have cost us before right. I feel sure that they will respond.”

Tommy Block and Luke Allen could both return to the squad this weekend from injury while the duo could feature in Tuesday night’s Kent Senior Cup Quarter-Final at home to Sevenoaks. On-loan Gills youngster Matty Macarthur is ruled out through injury.

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