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Dartford FC striker Darren McQueen still aiming for the Football League

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Darren McQueen admits this season with Dartford is make-or-break for his career.

The striker joined Darts this week having finished last season at Princes Park on loan from Sutton.

Now 24, the former Ebbsfleet man still hopes to make it in the Football League but knows he has to make a big impression soon.

Dartford striker Darren McQueen Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford striker Darren McQueen Picture: Andy Jones

There was EFL interest during McQueen's first season at Fleet but he stayed and finished top scorer to help them get promoted.

But a serious knee injury ruled him out for almost a year and he was sold to Sutton last November.

McQueen only started one league game for the U's, however, and knew his career would start to drift unless he acted.

He said: "I think it was the right move because I need to get playing time.

"My injuries halted my progress and sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

"That was the thinking behind the move and if I was going to go to a National League South side, it made sense to go to one I’m familiar with.

"I think this is make-or-break for me now. I’m 24 and this is where I need to get my goals and try to get myself back into the League.

"With the setbacks I’ve had, it says a lot about me as a person that I’m still here and still trying to get to where I feel I should be.

"I’m not going to give up. I’ve had setbacks but that’s in the past now, hopefully my bad luck’s over and I can push forward.

Darren McQueen scores Ebbsfleet's winner in the 2017 play-off final Picture: Andy Payton
Darren McQueen scores Ebbsfleet's winner in the 2017 play-off final Picture: Andy Payton

"I know that if I’m playing every game, the goals will follow. I know my ability and I wanted to show it before but it’s not clicked in terms of playing all the time at certain teams.

"Hopefully Dartford is the step that I need."

McQueen looked sharp when he first came to Dartford but faded as the team's play-off hopes unravelled.

He said: "We weren’t gelling or playing our best football. When it got to crunch time, we crumbled but I’m hoping this season that we can really push for promotion.

"The management were happy with me but maybe my standards dropped a bit. I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen this season.

"The season I’m trying to have is like my first season at Ebbsfleet, when even though I was coming off the bench sometimes I still scored 20 goals.

"I say to myself, if I can do that from 23 starts, imagine if I have 40 starts.

"Dartford have signed quite a few players who suit their style and I think it’ll be a big year for us as a team."

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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