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Steve King says trips to 3G grounds will help his Dartford side make the most of their passing game


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Dartford boss Steve King hopes playing their final four away matches on artificial pitches can work to their advantage.

The Darts are still on the fringes of the National League South title race and travel to Oxford City this Saturday knowing three points are essential.

Dartford boss Steve King is pleased away games will be played on 3G pitches for the rest of the season. Picture: Keith Gillard
Dartford boss Steve King is pleased away games will be played on 3G pitches for the rest of the season. Picture: Keith Gillard

With a third of the teams in the division now playing on 3G pitches, it’s nothing unusual anymore.

In fact, Dartford will actually welcome the chance to play their passing game away from home on a flat surface.

“We train on 3G as well so it’s not a problem for us,” said King.

“It will help us as we are a passing team, and hopefully playing on a 3G will be good for that kind of football.

“I’d never use the surface as an excuse anyway because it’s still 11 versus 11 or 16 versus 16 on the day.”

Darts won 1-0 at Hampton last weekend in a game dominated by the visitors. Although the Beveree pitch did not resemble the bog it has in recent years at this stage of the season, there were times when it worked against the Darts.

“It was a bobbly pitch last Saturday,” added King. “There were a couple of times when Danny Leonard got in and two crosses meant it was a goal - but the ball hit a bobble and his cross went out of the stadium!

“He only had to roll in Marcus Dinanga and Jake Robinson and we’d score. If we had been on 3G, it would have been a goal both times.”

Leaders Maidstone sit nine points clear of third-placed Dartford - who have a game in hand - after their last-gasp win over St Albans on Saturday.

Second-placed Dorking dropped points at Ebbsfleet but King’s focus is on what his own team do.

“We’ll just take each game as it comes,” added the Dartford manager. “When you look at our remaining games, every team we have left has something to play for at either end of the table.

“We’ve got the hardest run-in for sure, starting with Oxford this weekend who have been in the top seven all season.”

King boosted his squad with three signings ahead of last week’s deadline.

Goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook has joined from Hampton, having also played at Bromley this season, to provide cover for Dan Wilks.

Midfielder Samir Carruthers comes in on loan from Hemel Hempstead, impressing on his debut at Hampton last weekend. Former Welling midfielder Olu Durojaiye completes the new faces.

“Reice is a good keeper for this level,” said King.

“We needed to bring a keeper in for the last few games, it’s good competition.

“Samir has a great pedigree, he’s played 100 games in the Championship and League 1.

“I think he’s the right fit for us, he’s a good footballer and his ball set up the winner at Hampton last weekend when it caused panic in their defence.

“He is a different type of midfielder to what we already have, and he can play off the front as well.

“Olu was a last-minute one - we got it done in the last half-hour. We needed a holding midfielder who can break the game up and pass the ball.

“So as soon as he became available we signed him, he brings experience at this level having played for Woking, Welling and Braintree before.”

Dartford travel to Margate in the Kent Senior Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night.

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