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Dartford FC joint-manager Adam Flanagan targeting promotion next season

By Steve Tervet

New bosses Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle are determined to have Dartford challenging for promotion to the National League again next season.

Flanagan and Coyle were appointed joint-managers on Sunday following the resignation of long-serving Tony Burman last week.

They both won two league championships during their playing days at Princes Park, helping Darts rise from Ryman League Division 1 North to Conference South.

Dartford's new joint-managers Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan
Dartford's new joint-managers Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan

Dartford were favourites to go up again this season but missed out on the title on goal-difference before losing in the play-offs.

They'll be up against Torquay, Woking and Billericay in a stronger-looking National South next term but Flanagan expects them to be among the leading pack again.

He said: "I think the league will be tougher and there’s some good teams coming in there but I don’t think that will take the pressure off with regard to our own expectations.

"We’re coming to Dartford to continue the successful period Tony’s had.

"Internally, our expectations and those of the players will be that we’ll do everything we can to get the club promoted. Externally, the league is going to be tougher but we can’t use that as an excuse.

"We’ll assemble a squad we feel is capable of challenging and every week we’ll apply ourselves and put our total efforts into making sure the players are knowledgeable of their opponents.

"We’ll go through the strengths and weaknesses in the training sessions leading up to a game and make sure the players are fully prepared for what lies in front of them.

"They’ll understand the philosophy we want to bring to the team and my hope is the fans will see this fresh approach when they come and watch."

Flanagan and Coyle both joined Dartford in 2007 and played 140 and 135 times respectively over the next three seasons.

Adam Flanagan celebrates a goal for Dartford during his playing days Picture: Derek Stingemore
Adam Flanagan celebrates a goal for Dartford during his playing days Picture: Derek Stingemore

They were part of a team which won almost 60% of its games during that period and put Dartford back on the map.

Flanagan said: "It’s a club we’re both really affectionate about.

"When I left as a player, the hope was always to come back one day as a coach or manager. The opportunity has come along and I’m really excited.

"I’m grateful the club has stuck with the tradition of appointing managers who also played for the club. When you see how the club’s been successful over the years, not moving away from those traditions is hopefully going to be another positive.

"No-one can take away the achievements Tony had while he was Dartford manager and he deserves the utmost respect.

"We know it’s going to be a tough ask and expectations are high but we played for the club so we’re aware of that. That won’t change now we’re the managers.

"We’re going to have high expectations of ourselves and demand high levels from the players. There’s a blank canvas for us and we can bring our approach to the team.

"We can look at the traits from Tony’s teams that we liked and we’ll continue those as well but we’ll add a fresh approach to how we want to push the team forward."

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