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Dartford manager Alan Dowson is happy with summer signings so far at Princes Park

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Manager Alan Dowson is happy with how his Dartford squad is shaping up ahead of pre-season.

The Darts have already retained nine players, including Jordan Wynter and Academy youngster Sam Odaudu in the past week, with more expected to put pen to paper in the coming days - including players from other clubs.

New Dartford manager Alan Dowson
New Dartford manager Alan Dowson

“A few lads are coming on Saturday who we think we are going to sign on the day,” said Dowson.

“We’ve agreed a deal with some and I trust them to [stick with it].

“It’s great that we’ve got the young kids signed up and the squad is shaping up nicely.

“I don't think we can compete with Ebbsfleet or Havant, or Welling and Dulwich budget-wise but the aim is always to challenge and we’ll definitely get a team that challenges, it’s pointless us being here if we can’t.

“The club will never be put in jeopardy, and they’ve made that clear. They want to be a community club which is great but they also want to have a bit of success. It’s hard to have all three but if I didn’t think I could do it, then I wouldn’t have taken the challenge on.”

Dowson is hopeful one of last season’s goalkeepers will remain at Princes Park while midfielder Keiran Murtagh is due at the first day of pre-season training this weekend.

However, the Darts boss has confirmed the departures of George Porter and Kalvin Kalala while Jernade Meade is seeking a club at a higher level. Danny Leonard has rejoined Sheppey for an undisclosed fee after one season at Princes Park.

Centre-back Josh Hill has left the club after agreeing to link up with National League South rivals Dulwich.

“Neither keeper has signed yet but I'm hoping one will this week, we’re looking at other avenues as well just in case they don’t sign,” said Dowson.

“Josh Hill had his knee injury and we invited him back for pre-season to see how he is but he’s decided to take the option where Dulwich have offered him a deal.”

Dowson has also ruled out a return for former loan duo Kory Roberts and Marcus Dinanga. The latter is under contract at Altrincham for another season but the duo were making the commute from Birmingham for training and matches.

“Marcus is Altrincham’s player and they want money for him at the moment so we can’t do much about that and Kory Roberts lives too far away,” said Dowson.

“It’s a long way to travel so I think they’ll want a club closer to home. I know he did a good job here but we’ve already signed a couple of centre-halves and a right-back.

“Some of the ones I’ve mentioned are talking to other clubs, I know that’s what players do but I’m doing the same as well.”

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