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Dartford FC boss Tony Burman on the 1-0 defeat to Sutton United

By Steve Tervet

Tony Burman feels Dartford are close to league sharpness after a good pre-season test against Sutton.

Darts lost 1-0 at Princes Park on Tuesday night but pushed the National League side all the way in their latest friendly match.

Burman fielded the majority of his senior players from the start, with Alex Brown included in midfield as he builds up fitness following a knee injury.

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

"I was absolutely delighted," Burman said. "I thought the game was played in a good manner and it was played at a hell of a pace, both sides.

"It’s the nearest thing we’ve had so far to a league game.

"I’m glad we got to 80 minutes before they scored. It was a really good pre-season game which we’ve benefitted from, fitness-wise.

"Some of the players only played 45 minutes on Saturday (against Phoenix Sports) but we wanted a few of them to get as near to 90 minutes as they could and they've done that.

"The game’s we’ve arranged, they’re games where we’re not going to touch the ball that much but we did tonight.

"Sutton came at us in the first 15 minutes and it was great. I’m sure it was a good workout for Sutton as well because the tempo of the game was excellent."

New signing Mark Onyemah wasn't involved on Tuesday night.

Burman explained: "Mark got a knock against Gillingham and he didn’t play on Saturday.

"His ankle’s come up slightly and it still wasn’t quite right so we left him out.

"He might be there on Saturday (against Cambridge United) but I’m not going to take any risks."

Keaton Wood played at left-back in Onyemah's absence.

Burman said: "Keaton hasn’t done anything because of the injury he had in the England C game but he had a good run tonight.

"He’s Mr Versatile, he can play anywhere across the back and in the holding midfield role. It gives us competition for places and it helps us if someone’s not quite right.

"We’ve got Keaton back, Browny was injured as well, he’s got through another 45 minutes and the pace of it has helped him."

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