Published: 06:00, 01 July 2020
Dartford are back training in preparation for their National League South play-off campaign.
Manager Steve King has a 21-man squad to work from as they look to end a fragmented season on a high.
No date has yet been firmed up but quarter-final opponents Slough Town have been preparing their Arbour Park ground for the visit of Dartford on the weekend of July 18/19.
Dartford players have been tested for Covid-19 and are following detailed guidelines as they gear up for a return to action.
The Darts have been told they can’t make any changes to the squad that was in place pre-lockdown, apart from a goalkeeper. Loan players can be re-signed and King has managed to get permission for both Tarique Hyde (Colchester United) and Amrit Bansal-McNulty (QPR) to play.
Billy Crook, a January 2019 signing from Braintree, won’t be available for the play-offs, however.
King said: “His wife is having a baby in August and felt he wanted to concentrate on that. It is each and everyone’s own decision. He is the only one that is not playing.
“We have 21 players. We can’t sign anyone else but all of these players got us into the position we are in and now it will be a lottery.
“We could beat Slough, Slough could beat us. Everyone in these play-offs can all beat each other and there is no home advantage. Slough have an artificial pitch but we train on one every single week.”
Clubs in the play-offs will be allowed to make extra subs. Five can be used from six named (which must include a goalkeeper) but teams will only have three opportunities in a match to make changes.
Dartford could face up to three games and they are likely to be played in a short period of time.
In preparation for the play-offs the club had hoped to face Barnet in a friendly but they are awaiting confirmation that the game can go ahead. The Bees are preparing for their own play-off campaign in the division above.
For now, King and his men are just waiting on a date to target and that could come soon, they hope, with the National League board holding several meetings over this week. They are also in discussions with broadcaster BT Sport over television coverage for the behind closed doors matches.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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