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Dartford FC prepare to host promotion rivals Hampton & Richmond Borough

By Steve Tervet

Princes Park hosts the biggest game of the season in National League South when title rivals Dartford and Hampton & Richmond clash on Good Friday.

Both sides are chasing leaders Havant and with just four points covering the top three, the race for the championship is wide open.

Darts go into the game second, two points off the top and two ahead of Hampton.

Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton

"Easter is always a tough weekend and sometimes a defining weekend," said manager Tony Burman. "We know it's going to be a big game. We're all in the mix and it's all to play for.

"The ball is back in Havant's court but two weeks ago, if they'd won all their games in hand, they could have been 10 points in front of us. It's a funny game, football.

"This season has been strange at times, I have to admit. It's been a different type of league with so many teams involved. Maybe that's because of the new play-off situation."

Dartford boast the league's best home record and most potent strikeforce but Hampton have lost fewer games (four) than anyone else in the division.

Since August the Beavers have only tasted defeat once in 29 league games but Darts have won four of their last five.

Both teams made the play-offs last season and look set, at the very least, to do so again.

"Hampton are a good side," Burman said. "They usually have plenty of pace and they're up there for a reason.

"They've drawn a lot of games and I expect they wish they'd won some of those games.

"They always are (a tough nut to crack). They don't have the biggest squad over there but they've done ever so well and you have to respect that.

"We know we're going to be in for a tough game and we can only stay focused on what we want to do.

"I want to enjoy the game on Friday but at the end of it, I just want three points.

"We're trying hard to get our guys into a winning mentality, regardless of how they play or what they do in the 90 minutes.

"It's about winning when you've got seven games to go.

"We've hit 70 goals this season and that mustn't be overlooked. That's a good tally for the season and hopefully that will continue.

"We've got to stay focused and I believe in the players I've got."

Burman has a fully-fit squad to pick from with the exception of defender Richard Sho-Silva, who has resumed training after a knee injury.

Dartford are away to East Thurrock on Monday with both games kicking off at 3pm.

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