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Dartford visit Poole Town ahead of play-off semi-final against Chelmsford City

By Steve Tervet

Dartford are ready for the National League South play-offs and could yet snatch third place with a win at Poole on Saturday.

Tony Burman’s side travel to Dorset level on points with Chelmsford but trailing the Essex side on goal difference.

They go head-to-head with the Clarets in the first leg of their play-off semi-final on Wednesday night – with the venue to be determined by what happens this weekend.

Lee Noble in action for Dartford against Poole in December Picture: Andy Payton
Lee Noble in action for Dartford against Poole in December Picture: Andy Payton

If they can better Chelmsford’s result on the final day of the regular season, Dartford will go there first and have home advantage in next Sunday’s second leg.

Burman said: "We want to finish as high as we can in the league. Third is mathematically still there for us but we’ve got to win our game at Poole, which is going to be a tough game, and Chelmsford have got to win their game at Hungerford.

"Both teams have had a couple of losses and it’s just a case of seeing what happens on the final day.

"We realise the goal difference is to Chelmsford’s advantage but once we’ve finished the league season, our mind will go onto the play-offs.

"Poole have had a couple of strange results for the season they’ve had but I’m sure they’ll want to finish on a high and so will we."

Poole go into the game fifth but have been told they can’t take part in the play-offs due to ground grading issues.

It’s the same story for sixth-placed Hungerford, so the final spot will go to either Hampton & Richmond or Wealdstone, who sit seventh and eighth.

Dartford’s end-of-term report is far simpler, though.

"The target this year was to get into the play-offs," Burman said. "We knew there were some big clubs with healthy finances and it was going to be tough but we’re in the
play-offs and deserve to be.

"We’re there on merit and the group I’ve had this year have been excellent. Every time they’ve had a knockback, they’ve come back and won a game. They haven’t lost two league games (in a row).

"I’m delighted with their attitude. There’s been a little bit of tension in our game since we’ve known we were going to be in the play-offs but now the players are relaxed and looking forward to the challenge ahead."

Burman has no injury concerns ahead of the game at Poole, which kicks off at 3pm.

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