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Dartford manager Steve King expects 'fantastic game' against Ebbsfleet United in National League South


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Manager Steve King insists Dartford’s festive double header will not define their season.

Darts have led National League South for most of the campaign after posting seven wins in their first eight league matches.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard (53808753)
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard (53808753)

But Ebbsfleet took over in pole position last weekend following a 3-0 home win over Bath.

It means third takes on first at Princes Park on Boxing Day when Darts host the Fleet – with the teams only separated in the table by goal difference.

“I think it will be a fantastic game, a really big crowd,” said King. “If we can get 3,000 on Boxing Day that would be great.

“We’re both on the same points, we’ve let in less goals, they’ve scored more. It’s not going to define the season but I hope it will be a fantastic spectacle.

“There’s another 23 games to play after Boxing Day, 69 points to play for. If we win it’s not going to define the season and if we lose it’s not going to either.

“It’s a home game and we’re unbeaten at home so it will be a good game for us.”

Dartford are not number one at Christmas but they’re well in the hunt for honours and King is happy with their progress.

“We’re going to lose games, we have to realise that, everyone has to realise that,” he stated. “We’re not an untouchable team that can’t lose football matches.

Dartford's Tyrique Hyde beats Cray Wanderers' Andy Drury last Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard (53808699)
Dartford's Tyrique Hyde beats Cray Wanderers' Andy Drury last Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard (53808699)

“We’re going to lose games, that’s what this league is all about as you see results and think ‘how has this happened?’. We’re in a good position, three teams on 31 points now, it’s only goal difference dividing us all.

“Would I want to be where we are now at Christmas? Yes, 100 per cent.

“We’ve had a good start to the season. Christmas is not going to define our season but it will be a good yardstick to see where we are against teams like Ebbsfleet.

“We’ve got three games in eight days so we need the bodies back and we might try to bring one or two in.”

Dartford will be without long-term absentees Josh Hill and Luke Allen but captain Tom Bonner, Connor Essam, Luke Wanadio, Jernade Meade and leading scorer Ade Azeez all return to the squad after missing the FA Trophy win over Cray Wanderers.

The Darts travel to Braintree on Tuesday before visiting Ebbsfleet on January 2.

The two derby games over the festive period are not segregated and supporters are advised to buy tickets in advance.

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