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Dartford manager Steve King says side are not out of the National League South title race yet

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Dartford manager Steve King believes his team are right back in the National League South title race.

An edgy 2-1 win over 10-man Chelmsford on Tuesday night, coupled with leaders Dorking losing at Eastbourne, means Darts are seven points off top spot with a game in hand.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard (53043409)
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Keith Gillard (53043409)

It’s a quick turnaround from the weekend when King’s men lost 4-2 at Chippenham, a defeat that the manager felt had signalled the end to their outside title ambitions.

“We’re right in the mix,” stated King. “If we win our game in hand then we’d be four points off the top.

“That’s the frustration of losing the last two away games, against Hungerford and Chippenham. I wasn’t at Chippenham as I had an operation and wasn’t able to attend.

“Before Chelmsford I thought we were playing to finish as high as we can. I thought we were out of it, but now everything has flipped upside down and we’ve got the win.

“We’ve still got a game in hand over Dorking and Maidstone.

“We’re playing catch-up all the time so I don’t see pressure on us, but we need to perform better than we did against Chelmsford.”

It’s seven wins in 10 games for Dartford but King’s squad is looking threadbare with Jordan Wynter joining the injury list after picking up a groin problem at Chippenham.

Marcus Dinanga and loan signing Jordan Greenidge, who has joined from Weymouth until the end of the season, were on the bench against Chelmsford but were not deemed fit enough to come on.

“We are struggling for numbers,” said the Darts boss.

“We had 16 against Chelmsford and two of them couldn’t have come on.

“People have this big thing that we’ve got so many players and numbers but I only bring players in when I need it.

“We’ve got Jernade Meade, Josh Hill, Luke Allen, and now Jordan Wynter out as well. They’re all starters so I’ve got to replace them as we don’t want our season to fall apart with 10 games to go. We want to be in it to the end.

“There’s not an influx of having 20-30 players here, but we tend to get this thing said about me or Dartford.”

Dartford host Havant at Princes Park this weekend, a side that could yet gatecrash the play-off party despite going nine games without a win since Christmas.

The Hawks have now picked up results after making a number of changes to their squad in recent weeks, and are one of the division’s in-form sides.

“They’ve won four out of five so are on an upward spiral,” warned King.

“They’ll come here looking for a result and they are on the march to get a play-off place with 10 games still to go.”

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