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Dartford FC loan striker Darren McQueen looking forward to playing regular games again

By Steve Tervet

Darren McQueen believes joining Dartford on loan is the move he needed after a season of frustration at Ebbsfleet and Sutton.

The striker's Darts debut at Slough on Saturday was only his second league start since September 8.

McQueen hit the ground running, scoring one goal and creating the other to help his new side to a 2-2 draw.

Darren McQueen has joined Dartford on a month's loan Picture: Andy Payton
Darren McQueen has joined Dartford on a month's loan Picture: Andy Payton

McQueen said: "I wasn't playing much at Sutton, just coming on here and there for 10 or 15 minutes. I spoke to the manager and he said 'at your age, you need to be playing games'.

"Dartford, and I think it might have been Slough came in as well, but Dartford's closer and they seemed quite keen so I thought that's a good move - and they're doing well.

"My season has been more stop than start. This loan move is what I really needed and I just hope to excel from here.

"If I don't get called back to Sutton, I'll stay here and keep banging in goals and see where it takes me."

Dartford tried to sign McQueen when Ebbsfleet put him on the transfer list earlier this season.

Joint-boss Adam Flanagan said: "I'm a big fan of Darren and have been for some time.

"When he was made available by Ebbsfleet, we would like to have got him but we can't offer full-time football at the moment and Sutton can so he went there.

"It was just about being patient. A circular went out this week and we got onto Doswell over there and managed to agree something.

Darren McQueen goes for the spectacular against Gateshead Picture: Andy Payton
Darren McQueen goes for the spectacular against Gateshead Picture: Andy Payton

"It was really good to bring him in and hopefully we'll have him for the remainder of the season.

"He gives us a different dimension and I thought he was very good on Saturday considering he hasn't started for a long time.

"We tried to give him as much time as we can without running him into the ground. In the last five games, he's only been appearing as a sub so we didn't want to push him too hard straight away because we feel he can have a real big impact."

McQueen played alongside Phil Roberts up front at Slough with Charlie Sheringham out injured.

He said: "To be honest, I think we did well to get a point in the end away from home.

"They dominated us and me and Phil were just feeding off scraps but you've got to do what you've got to do. I think I did quite well.

"People know what my game is. They know I'm a striker that runs in behind and even though I was feeding off scraps, I did get in behind quite a few times. My goal didn't come from that but it came from me being alive in the box, which is also my game.

"We've got good players and now they know what my strengths are so as I stay here longer, they'll play a bit more to my strengths.

Darren McQueen in action for Ebbsfleet against Maidstone Picture: Andy Payton
Darren McQueen in action for Ebbsfleet against Maidstone Picture: Andy Payton

"I can't come on loan and be a passenger. I need to show everyone what I can do to help Dartford get promoted.

"It's all about getting goals. I got a goal and an assist on Saturday so I'm really happy with that.

"Unfortunately we couldn't get the win but from a personal point of view, I think I had a good debut."

Dartford has been a great shop window for players over the years and it could be the same for McQueen.

Flanagan said: "He'll get lots of opportunities in a league he's done well in previously.

"People are probably aware of him and they want to see him scoring, like he did on Saturday, and by doing that and upping his match minutes, he'll get his name going around again.

"He'll have people coming to watch him again and as a young player, that's what you want.

"Since he got his injury, his match time hasn't been where he would like for various reasons and at that age, you need to be playing.

"I thought he looked really good on Saturday and we feel that if we manage him right and up his fitness over the next few games, he'll go from strength to strength.

"We're looking forward to seeing that."

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