Published: 06:00, 06 February 2020
Dartford boss Steve King has warned his loan stars they can’t take their places for granted.
King has three midfielders on loan in Crystal Palace’s Giovanni McGregor, QPR’s Amrit Bansal-McNulty and Tyrique Hyde from Colchester.
Although Bansal-McNulty is suspended for this weekend’s home game with Hampton, King refuted any suggestion that they will automatically take the midfield slots in his line-up going forward.
“We’re playing three in midfield so we’ve got four players for three places this Saturday,” said King, who also has Billy Crook and the returning Lee Noble at his disposal.
“It’s brilliant competition for places. The players know that if they don’t produce then they can easily lose their place.
“We’ve got a nice blend in there, all different types of player, and they’ve got to warrant their place. Billy Crook has been outstanding since he came back.
“Look at Liam Nash up front, he came in last week and scored, so we’ve got competition going for places up there as well.”
It’s in midfield where Dartford fans will be most excited, though. Hyde’s loan has been extended until the end of March while Bansal-McNulty had a debut to remember at Chippenham last weekend.
He won a penalty, provided an assist and scored a cheeky goal himself before later collecting the first red card of his career.
“Look at his goal,” enthused King. “He wriggled his way down the byline, and then had the audacity to nutmeg the keeper.
“He won the penalty with a great bit of skill to get into the box, and he took the free-kick which was deflected in for the own goal.
“You’ve got to say that for those 60 minutes he was the best player on the pitch.
“I knew all about his ability as I’ve seen him this season, and I know that he will fit into the way we want to play.”
With Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong returning to Aldershot last week and Sam Blackman joining Leatherhead on loan for a month, King boosted his squad with the arrival of McGregor from Palace until the end of the season.
Palace’s under-23 captain, King watched him score one and make one against Cardiff under-23s last week. He has been an unused substitute for Palace’s first team three times in the last month – including at Manchester City in the Premier League – but has yet to make his debut.
“He’s gone from the Premier League to us so it took a bit of convincing that this is the right place for him to play,” said King.
“He’ll bring athleticism, he gets up and down and he scores goals.
“I’ve seen him a few times and he has an eye for a pass.”
On extending Hyde’s loan, King added: “He’s been a big player for us, he gets into the box and is different to what we’ve got.”
More by this authorMatthew Panting