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Dartford manager Steve King says winning is key when rivals are not in action

Dartford turned up the heat on their promotion rivals in National League South on Tuesday night – but boss Steve King wasn’t bothered that they went top.

The Darts regained pole position after defeating Tonbridge at Princes Park and they are now two points clear of unbeaten St Albans having played three more games than the former frontrunners.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones (21815712)
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones (21815712)

King was pleased that his team cashed in on a night when only themselves and Dorking Wanderers in the top eight were in action.

“It’s not about being top,” said King. “It’s when you play and someone else doesn’t, you need to keep winning when other teams aren’t playing.

“I’m not putting pressure on them (the players) in the way that we need to be top, it’s winning when no-one else is playing. St Albans have got three games in hand but they now need to go and win to go above us.

“It’s a little bit of over to them now but they’re having a great season, they’re unbeaten. But they might end up playing four, five games every two weeks and that becomes hard. If you haven’t got a big squad then people can catch you up.

“You can only ever get three points whether we play this game tonight, next month or the month after. If you do play when someone else doesn’t, you have to take maximum points.”

Having defeated Tonbridge on Tuesday night, Dartford travel to Braintree on Saturday and then host Billericay this Tuesday.

King has set his side a target of seven points from three matches.

“We’ve got three games, with Braintree and Billericay to come in a week and we’ve set a target of seven points from those three games – anything more is a bonus,” said King.

“Anything less and we’re not doing ourselves justice and that’s no disrespect to anyone else. We want to maintain what we’re doing.

“We need to finish teams off because even if you’re 1-0, Tonbridge had a couple of ricochets and a long-range shot that hit their own player that could have gone in. Unless you put these teams to bed you are always going to be holding on until the 95th or 96th minute.

“Braintree are fighting for their lives. They were 2-0 up at Chelmsford on Saturday so they’ve got some capabilities in there, definitely.

“They fell apart and lost in the end but to go two-up at Chelmsford, that’s a hard place to go.

“We respect every opponent and they will give us different challenges, which we need to overcome. We’ll be going there trying to win the game and it’s important we try and do that.”

Darts have re-arranged their home clash with Chippenham to January 16 and the postponed clash with Oxford City for January 26.

In a season with potential Covid-19 disruptions on the horizon, King wants his team to be playing as much as possible to get into a rhythm.

“I looked at all the blank fixtures and we only put the Tonbridge game in last Thursday,” added the Dartford boss.

“We’ve moved Chippenham and Oxford City - any little gap, we’re going for a fixture. In the end we could have played 20 and someone else might have only played 13.

“If you keep winning the games you are only going to ever get three points, so it doesn’t matter when you play them. I don’t want to go stop-start, when we did that we weren’t very good.”

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