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Dartford manager Steve King treating his Boxing Day return to former club Welling United the same as any other game

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Dartford manager Steve King insists the Boxing Day derby against former club Welling is just another game.

King returns to Park View Road in opposition colours for the first time since his departure in the summer.

Steve King is ignoring the hype over his return to Welling Picture: Keith Gillard
Steve King is ignoring the hype over his return to Welling Picture: Keith Gillard

He left Welling at the end of last season after guiding them to the play-off final where they were beaten by Woking but was a popular manager among the Wings fans.

That mood may change given the rivalry between the clubs but King insists the focus is only on the points.

“It’s not about me,” stated King. “It’s not a case of wanting to get one over them, I think I’ve got to treat it as another football game.

“It’s another team I want to pick up points from. I enjoyed my time there, it’s nothing against Welling but on the day, I will be Dartford manager and will be trying to win the points.

“It’s about the team and can we get the result? It’s going to be tough. If you’re top or bottom, when it’s a derby it’s irrelevant, you expect the passion and everything to come through.

“I’ve watched Welling twice at home since I left, once when no-one knew I was there and once at the Dulwich game.

“They’re having a rotation with their squad and I know they are trying to get three or four out now and they’ve brought three or four in.”

Among the Dartford squad will be new right-back Sanchez Ming, who left Welling last week to work again with King.

When asked if Welling will try to wind up Ming on Boxing Day, King replied: “I know he has got a fiery character but he has to play with his head, it’s as simple as that. We’ll look at that situation before it happens.”

Darts will be hoping that keeper Mark Smith is passed fit to take his place. Smith suffered a minor setback in training on Thursday after injuring his thigh at Dulwich earlier this month.

Lee Noble has resumed running but is still at least a month away from a return to action.

Striker Elliott Romain missed a penalty during last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Concord.

He’s enjoyed a hot streak in front of goal since King signed him from Eastbourne – but it was his second spot-kick miss in the last four games.

“I didn’t like the conviction in that one, I didn’t like his run-up and I said that on the sideline,” said King.

“Keepers are not dummies, they do their homework on your last penalties, what areas you put it.

“You get videos of every game now and the goalkeeping coach feeds the information to the goalkeeper.

“I thought it wasn’t a good penalty from a player who has been fantastic since he’s been here – that could have made him top scorer in the league.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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