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Dartford manager Steve King on injuries to Lee Noble, Jordan Wynter, Charlie Sheringham and Sam Blackman

ByMatthew Panting

Injuries to key players are threatening to derail new manager Steve King’s first few weeks at Dartford.

Key midfielder Lee Noble has joined Jordan Wynter, Charlie Sheringham and Sam Blackman on the sidelines.

Dartford's Ronnie Vint is unable to convert this header against Kingstonian. Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford's Ronnie Vint is unable to convert this header against Kingstonian. Picture: Andy Jones

With a threadbare squad available, it means King has his work cut out trying to turn Dartford’s results around in the short term.

“I know I can get it right,” said King. “It’s a challenge but one that I can overcome.

“The situation is what it is. We have to get on with it.

“The four injuries are all players that would start. With four players missing out of your starting XI, that would hurt any team.”

Noble needs a knee operation and will be out for four months while the other trio are at least four weeks away from a return to action.

On the absence of key midfielder Noble, King admitted: “It’s a big blow. There’s not many players of his type around, an all-action player who puts his body on the line.

“He is big for the team and it meant we had two footballers in midfield on Saturday – we didn’t have the right balance.”

King signed former Welling right-back Jordan Gibbons, who had been a free agent since falling out of favour at Chelmsford earlier this season.

Gibbons endured a nightmare debut as Darts crashed out of the FA Cup to lower-league Kingstonian last weekend but King insisted he was left with no alternative but to start him.

“I had no choice with the right-back,” said King.

“We were lucky we were able to bring Jordan in. He will be the first to admit that he didn’t have the best of games.

“But because he had a bad game, it doesn’t make him a bad player.

“I know he is a decent player, he played over 30 times for me last season at Welling including the play-off final. He didn’t know anybody but the bottom line was we didn’t have a right-back.

“Jordan Wynter would have played there but is out for four weeks and Rob Howard wasn’t allowed to play (by Southend), so we would have had to put a centre-half there and I didn’t want to do that.”

Dartford host Chippenham in National League South on Saturday, having won just once at Princes Park this season.

They will need to break down a visiting defence that has conceded just 13 goals in as many matches.

“It will be a tough game,” noted King. “They don’t score loads but they have the best defensive record in the league so they are going to be hard to break down.

“We’ve got to cut out the mistakes. It was three errors against Kingstonian that cost us – that’s literally the facts of the game.

"I can’t question the commitment, the players gave me everything to try and stay in the competition.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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