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Dartford caretaker manager Tony Burman says threat of relegation battle in National League South can be catalyst for upturn in results

Dartford caretaker boss Tony Burman insists the club would be “silly” not to look at the league table.

The Darts are just six points above the relegation zone after their winless National League South run extended to five games with a 2-1 loss at Farnborough last weekend.

Tony Burman is rallying his troops as they seek to return to winning ways. Picture: Sean Aidan
Tony Burman is rallying his troops as they seek to return to winning ways. Picture: Sean Aidan

Burman’s only been in charge for two matches and is trying to breed confidence within the squad. But he knows they have to start picking up results.

“We’d be silly not to look at it,” stated Burman. “We know the situation we’re in.

“There’s a big black cloud up there with an ‘R’ (for relegation) printed on it and I don’t want it coming over our club.

“We’ve got to take a massive reality check and realise that. There’s 17 games to go and we’ve got to get a certain amount of points.

“We need to do it sooner rather than later. At the moment we’ve got to get that clean sheet or that win under our belt and if we can do that it will give us a little bit of confidence.

“We can’t get into a rut, that’s when things don’t start looking good. We’ve got to start performing, we all know that.

“Some of the play at Farnborough (last weekend) went in the right direction which I think will give us a lift in the next few games.”

Dartford visit Bath this Saturday and then host Chippenham at Princes Park on Tuesday night. That game starts a run of matches against teams in the bottom half of the table.

Burman remains in caretaker charge, as things stand, and warned: “It still becomes difficult because the onus in those games is for both clubs.

“It makes it more intense and nerve-wracking. I’m trying to get the players in the right frame of mind. I know we lost last Saturday but the reaction we got was a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

“We weren’t beaten off the field, we gave it a go and on another day we’d have come away with a point. If we can improve for more periods then it will stand us in good stead for the games coming up.”

Luck was again not on Dartford’s side at Farnborough. Not only was the winning goal scored by Harvey Bradbury, just weeks after the Darts sold him, but the striker was clearly offside.

Burman was also disappointed that left-back Sam Odaudu was not allowed to return to the pitch on his natural side, having come off for treatment.

“Sam went down with a cut on his lip on the left-hand side, the referee insisted that he should go off on the right-hand side,” said Burman.

“When he came on he wasn’t in the right position, I can’t tell you why the referee did that. It inevitably led to their left-back getting past Sam to put the cross in.

“Billy (Terrell, keeper) should have done better and then clearly there’s a discussion that should have been had as Harvey’s put the ball in the net. It hit him on his leg so clearly he’s interfering with play. It’s clear that he should be offside.

“They’re the things that are going against us. I know I’m clutching at straws a little bit but we’ve gone 1-0 down, we said we can’t have that losing thing when we go behind and we came straight back with a decent goal to make it 1-1.

“Yes, they’ve hit the post and then you’re thinking it might be our day because we’ve had some poor luck over the last few months. It wasn’t to be but I can’t fault the effort in the team. I’m not going to have a go at the players if that’s there.

“Their keeper pulled off a great save to prevent it going 2-2. I’m not happy but I was pleased we had a workmanlike performance at least.

“I felt the players gave me 100%, they worked really hard and did what we’ve been trying to work on. I felt we were good enough to get a point, there were some good pluses from the game.

“It wasn’t to be but that wasn’t through lack of effort and our supporters who travelled appreciated that the players had put in a shift, even if it wasn’t the right result.”

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