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Dartford manager Steve King will be ruthless with four top strikers vying for a place in his side

Dartford boss Steve King has told his strikers to start delivering goals – or they’ll find themselves out of his starting line-up.

The Darts signed Alfie Pavey on a two-month loan from Barnet on Tuesday, and he adds more quality to a strike force which should do well at National League South level with Charlie Sheringham, Jack Barham and Elliott Romain all vying to get into the team.

Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Chris Davey (42479288)
Dartford manager Steve King. Picture: Chris Davey (42479288)

King’s side missed a series of good opportunities in Tuesday’s home defeat to St Albans, including a penalty which saw Sheringham’s effort saved by the keeper, and the manager welcomes the competition for places.

“I want that because if they don’t perform it’s easy to change it,” said King.

“At the end of the day, although we dominated the majority of the game and the chances we had, you’ve got to finish those chances.

“I will be ruthless, that’s how I work. We should be sitting here with three points.

“Some of the football was fantastic at times but when you get the chances, you’ve got to score and we let them off too many times.

“The hardest thing is when you don’t make chances, everyone will tell you that, but we’ve got to take those chances. That game should have been over, two or three-nil, that’s how good our chances were.”

Pavey enjoyed a golden spell during the 2017/18 season with Dartford, bagging 22 league goals as they missed out on the title on goal difference under the stewardship of Tony Burman.

A broken leg last October has meant his time at Barnet has never really got going and King believes he can get going again back at Princes Park.

“He is a goalscorer at this level,” stated the Darts boss. “He hasn’t really settled when he went away from here if I’m honest. He went for transfer fees three different times from here to Havant, to Dover, and then to Barnet, and he just needs to settle down.

“At Dartford they know what he is capable of and he scored a lot of goals here in the year they just missed out on promotion. He’s gone away and we think he’s progressed into a better player.

“He needs games, which he will get better with. He’s not here just to get fit, he’s here to make a difference.”

When asked if there is a chance to make Pavey’s move permanent, King was keeping his cards close to his chest.

“I don’t know,” he responded. “We’ll just take the loan as it comes for two months and see what happens.”

Dartford are without left-back Craig Braham-Barrett (ankle) for a couple of weeks but should welcome back David Ijaha (knee) and Abdul Osman (illness) for Saturday’s home game with Slough.

Ricky Modeste will be sidelined for two more months, however, after suffering a hairline fracture of the knee cap in training last month.

Slough won at Princes Park in the FA Cup at the start of October and King expects a tight game against a team that they beat in the play-offs last season.

“It’s another tough game,” he said. “Slough grind and grind out results and are very hard to beat. They beat us here in the FA Cup first game of the season but they are a tough outfit that go and go and go.

“We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us. We need to pick ourselves up and go again.

“We didn’t play terribly bad (against St Albans), it was just the end product and finishing was poor. If we were more clinical, then we win the game quite comfortably. That’s part of the game, you have to take your chances when they come and we didn’t.”

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