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Dartford FC boss Tony Burman faces a battle to keep hold of players

Manager Tony Burman faces a battle to keep his Dartford squad together for next season.

The Darts finished third in National League South but crashed out of the play-offs after a 2-1 semi-final second leg defeat to Chelmsford on Sunday.

Now Burman fears that the mix of promising youngsters and experienced heads could be ripped apart just as they look to kick on again.

Dartford captain Elliot Bradbrook Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford captain Elliot Bradbrook Picture: Andy Jones

"It will be a battle to keep hold of some of my players as they’ve been excellent," said Burman.

"There will be other clubs in and around them but I hope we can show what we’ve done and persuade them to stay.

"We know we’re going to be up against it again next year. The money will be flying about in the summer which is making it more and more difficult every year.

"Clubs promise the earth and within two or three months that money is gone, but unfortunately agents and players believe it.

"It will be a tough time but I’ll start talking to the players next week and see what they want to do."

Despite their play-off heartache, Burman declared the season a resounding success.

The majority of fans have recognised the progress made since relegation from non-league’s top flight two years ago.

"I’m happy because the club has pulled together on and off the field," said Burman.

"There was a lot of negativity around the place two years ago, whether you think it’s right or wrong, it was there.

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

"If people think it has helped then keep on criticising. All we ask is be constructive with it and if not then remember who might be reading it.

"If there’s moans and groans from within the club, then people outside the club will see it and put rumours round even faster than they do here.

"We’ve overcome that and had a good season because everyone has pulled together again.

"You have to remember we are what we are and there is no millionaire. We do what we can in the community.

"Over the season I’m delighted. The supporters have been fantastic home and away and I’m just glad that the club is back running again and we have to continue like that."

Burman has immediately set his sights on finishing the top two next season.

"We finished third in the league and that was a big improvement," he added. "That’s what we’ve got to take into next year.

"Our plan is we want to be challenging again next year, it’s an easy thing to say but a difficult thing to do.

"You have to have both sides pulling in the right direction and we need to kick on and make it even stronger. Hopefully we can improve and be in that top two."

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