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Dartford boss Steve King says strikers Elliott Romain and Darren McQueen are deadliest in National League South

Dartford manager Steve King believes his strike-force of Elliott Romain and Darren McQueen cannot be bettered in National League South.

The pair have been instrumental in Dartford’s impressive turnaround of form since King took charge in October.

Darren McQueen has been on top form in front of goal for Dartford. Picture: Keith Gillard
Darren McQueen has been on top form in front of goal for Dartford. Picture: Keith Gillard

Romain arrived from Eastbourne and has immediately become a fans’ favourite at Princes Park with 12 goals in 17 games.

McQueen has shown glimpses of the form that made him a prized asset at Ebbsfleet a few seasons ago, taking his tally to 14 for the campaign in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Dulwich.

Asked whether they are as good as there is in the league at the moment, King replied: “Yes, definitely.

“Elliott has got a bit of everything. He can win his headers, tenacious, he never gives up and is a foil for us while Darren just buzzes around.

“I’d like to think I’ve got the best out of Elliott. I’ve watched him over the years and I thought he was good but he’s been better than what I thought when I’m working with him.

“We always used to have a joke because he never scored against my teams – we knew how to keep him out and away from the goal.

“Now, what we’ve done to him is to say ‘we don’t want you in the channels doing the hard work you used to’, we’ve told him ‘just stay down the middle and you’ll get in’.

“We’ve simplified his game, kept him inside the 18-yard box and the rest is history.”

McQueen has eight goals in his last seven games, and is enjoying his role in King’s attacking 4-3-3 formation.

“Darren is a great finisher and he really hit that hard on Saturday,” added King.

“We tell Darren to go and play close to Elliott and gamble on everything Elliott does. He’s going to win some, he’s going to lose some. The ones he wins you might get in.

“We’re just trying to breed confidence in him. Nothing ridiculous in terms of sitting down and showing him, but just basic stuff – stay in between the 18-yard box.

“We’re playing three up, stay near the centre-forward, not on the chalk where you’ve got so much to do. But when we’re out of possession, fill those areas – that’s his instructions.”

Having seen Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong return to Aldershot after the end of his one-month loan this week, King is hoping to extend Tyrique Hyde’s loan from Colchester.

He is due to return to the League 2 outfit after Saturday’s trip to Chippenham.

Lee Noble and Sam Blackman have both returned to the squad from injury and loan in the past fortnight and King has been impressed by Noble’s fitness having seen him at close quarters.

“I’ve always had him against my sides in games and I haven’t really seen him in training because he’s been injured,” said King.

“In training in the last couple of weeks he has got fitter and moved around the park. Then against Maidstone in the Kent Senior Cup, he covered the ground more than what I thought. It’s a massive plus for us.”

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