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Dartford manager Steve King will use friendly against Whitehawk to boost fitness of injured duo Craig Braham-Barrett and David Ijaha

Dartford boss Steve King will use a friendly match this Saturday to help his injured players take a step closer to full fitness.

The likes of Craig Braham-Barrett and David Ijaha have been ruled out in recent weeks and they’ll be needed with a busy schedule ahead, while defender Josh Hill has made only two substitute appearances so far this season.

Dartford's Craig Braham-Barrett - in action at Maidstone - has missed the last four games through injury. Picture: Keith Gillard
Dartford's Craig Braham-Barrett - in action at Maidstone - has missed the last four games through injury. Picture: Keith Gillard

Darts start a run of potentially four games in 13 days in the FA Trophy on Tuesday and King wants as many of his squad available as possible.

“It’s been a fits and starts season,” said King, whose side will host Whitehawk in a behind closed doors friendly at Princes Park.

“We had a lot of games and then a weekend off, another run of games and then a weekend off – and now another busy run over Christmas.

“We’ll just take each game as it comes.”

The FA Trophy draw is due to released later today and King added: “It’s just another game really. We’ll do our best to go through, whoever we draw.

“It’s not right up there in our priority, the league is our bread and butter and the most important thing to us.”

King will talk to striker Chris Dickson this week to discuss his future. Dickson joined the Darts on dual registration terms from Hornchurch but has failed to score in his last two matches after netting twice on his debut.

Missed chances were a tale of Dartford’s 3-1 defeat at Eastbourne last weekend, a final scoreline that did not reflect the game according to King.

“It was a false reflection of the game in my opinion,” said King. “If we’d taken our chances it would have been a different game.

“Chris Dickson missed two one-on-ones and then in the second half we were camped in their half at 1-1. Noor Husin should have scored in a goalmouth scramble and Connor Essam had a header cleared off the line – then they hit us on the counter attack.

“We didn’t defend the cross well for the first goal and they got in too easily for the second goal.”

Top scorer Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong took his tally to four with another wonderful strike, but King urged the midfielder to improve his decision making.

“All of Jacobs goals are top class – the ground went silent when he scored on Saturday,” said King.

“It was an unbelievable strike from the angle, a brilliant goal.

“There are times when he can release the ball and let other people in so he needs to get that right in his game but he is an outstanding talent.”

Eastbourne had the benefit of the home crowd – and King re-iterated his view that it leaves Dartford with an unfair advantage.

“The fans got behind them and it made a difference to them,” said King. “It’s what I said last week and building up to the game, it’s not an even playing field anymore.

“There’s five teams in our division that can’t have fans, all the other teams can – and that’s not right on any level.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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