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Dartford FC captain Elliot Bradbrook says automatic promotion is the aim next season

By Steve Tervet

Dartford are setting their sights on the league title next season.

Beaten in the National League South play-offs earlier this month, the Darts are determined to fight for automatic promotion next time out.

Elliot Bradbrook will be leading the charge, Dartford’s club captain having signed up for a ninth season.

Elliot Bradbrook scores one of his 24 goals for Dartford in 2016-17 Picture: Martin Apps
Elliot Bradbrook scores one of his 24 goals for Dartford in 2016-17 Picture: Martin Apps

He said: "The nucleus of the side is pretty much exactly the same as it was this year when we finished third.

"We did well this year so if we can add a few more quality players, I don’t see any reason why we can’t be right up there again.

"The plan has to be to improve again. If we made it into the play-offs this time, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be trying to push to win the league.

"The aim is to win every game. It’s not always possible but that’s certainly my aim. I think it’s the aim of (manager) Tony (Burman) and the rest of the guys as well.

"Everyone wants to win the league. That’s going to be the aim next year."

Darts only need to sign a handful of players with 12 members of last season’s squad on contract for 2017-18.

Bradbrook believes that stability will be key to their hopes.

He said: "Rarely will you find a team that’s successful who have just brought in a load of new lads that haven’t been together before.

"You need that core group that’s been together for a long time and we’ll have a group of 10-12 that have been together for over a season.

"That can only bode well for us for next year. We’ve got some great players. We’ve got a nice mix, which we haven’t had for a long time.

"I’m talking as if Luke Wanadio is going to stay – so we’ve got Luke and Ryan Hayes on both wings, we’ve got a threat there, we’ve got experience with myself, Tom Bonner, Ryan, Danny Harris and Lee Noble and an encouraging mix of younger guys.

"You have to remember the ages of some of these guys. What Ronnie Vint did, playing at centre-half in that league last year at 20-years-old, was amazing. I don’t think I could have performed that way when I was that age.

Elliot Bradbrook praised Ronnie Vint (left) for his performances in central defence Picture: Andy Jones
Elliot Bradbrook praised Ronnie Vint (left) for his performances in central defence Picture: Andy Jones

"People like Ronnie and Keaton Wood and Deren Ibrahim, there’s a lot of potential there.

"It speaks volumes that we’ve managed to keep those guys. I’m pretty sure they’d have had people calling them up and trying to get them to go to other places, probably paying them more money.

"The fact all those have committed to stay, it shows the sort of group we’ve got, the sort of club Dartford are and hopefully what the plans are for next year."

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