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Joint-manager Adam Flanagan hails Dartford's character

By Matthew Panting

Dartford joint-boss Adam Flanagan believes momentum is with his team now.

The Darts built on last-gasp equalisers against Eastbourne and Billericay in the league by progressing into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

It was far from convincing at times against minnows AFC Uckfield, but Darts showed enough character and finally scored three goals in the last nine minutes.

Dartford joint-managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford joint-managers Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle Picture: Andy Payton

They will be expected to claim a first league victory in four games on Saturday when they host a Weston side who sit bottom of National League South without a win from their opening 10 games.

“We’re three unbeaten, I know it’s two draws, but we want to build a bit of momentum,” said Flanagan.

“Momentum in football is important. We’ve gone a little way against Uckfield to adding to what we’ve already done.

“We’ve got Weston at home next and we need to start winning games and climbing up the league. We need to put on a big performance.

“We’ve got players in the team now who are asking questions and we seem to have more competition for places. The level of the squad has been raised recently.

“People are fighting for positions and that will impact on the pitch and the way we perform.”

Flanagan believes the Darts are on an upward curve, the late goals in their last two games giving hope that they have turned the corner.

He added: “The way the season has gone we’d have probably lost at home to Eastbourne when we scored a 94th-minute equaliser and then Billericay it was 94 minutes again.

“I like to think they may be turning points and the FA Cup win reinforces that a little bit.

“When you’re 1-0 down in a fixture like that, character gets you back into the game. It was desire, a will and hunger to win by players that got us back.

“That’s what we were lacking in the first half and it’s what we showed in the second half when we created more chances and eventually got the goals.”

Right-back Kenneth Yao joined on a month’s loan from Charlton last week after Callum Driver (groin) was ruled out for up to four weeks.

The 19-year-old had a testing debut at Uckfield but Flanagan believes he will only get better.

“He has come from The Valley to Uckfield and there’s the psychological side of things to deal with,” said Flanagan.

“It was always going to be a difficult game to come into because it’s the FA Cup. I’m not sure how many games he has featured in, especially being an underdog but he looks a good addition.

“He might be suited more to our level where there’s a little bit more time and I’m looking forward to seeing him against Weston next week.”

Loan duo Tom Knowles and Amadou Ba return to the squad against Weston after not being given permission to play in the FA Cup.

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