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Dartford boss Tony Burman expects National League South title rivals Havant & Waterlooville will be tough nut to crack

By Steve Tervet

Princes Park hosts another big game on Saturday when Dartford go head-to-head with title rivals Havant & Waterlooville.

Back in National League South after a season in the Isthmian League, the Hawks have stormed up the table in recent weeks and could even knock Darts off top spot this weekend.

Dartford haven’t lost at home in the league since August but manager Tony Burman knows they’ll have their work cut out in this one.

Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Tony Jones
Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Tony Jones

He said: “I’m expecting a tough game on Saturday, similar to when we played them down there (that game finished 0-0).

“This is what it’s about. It’s what we want to be involved in, big games, crucial games and hopefully we can keep our form going in the right direction.

“They’ve got some experienced players, that’s for sure. They’re a good side and although they’ve had injury problems, like us, they’ve dug in and kept in there.”

Former Dartford striker Jason Prior returns to lead the line with the much-travelled Matt Tubbs, while Wes Fogden provides quality in midfield.

“We know all about them,” Burman said. “They’ve got a lot of experience in that side and it doesn’t surprise me that they’re up there challenging.

“You’ve got to respect how they play and how they line up, so we’ll do that. We’re at home so we’ve got to do things in the right way and we’ve done that over the last few weeks.

"We know Havant usually play with three guys at the back and two wing-backs. They try to get lots of people in the middle of the park so we have to respect that and select accordingly.”

Lee Noble will be added to the squad if he comes through Thursday training without any problems, although Alex Brown remains sidelined. The midfielder will have a scan on a stomach muscle problem so Burman and his staff will have to wait for news on his diagnosis.

However, Duane Ofori-Acheampong came on for the last 14 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Concord and showed no ill-effects.

Burman said: “We’re looking for a couple of friendly games to ease him through the pain barrier. Having him for the last three or four months of the season will be good for us.”

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