Published: 06:00, 27 September 2019
Caretaker boss Tony Burman has been impressed by how his squad have handled the pressure in recent weeks.
The Darts made it back-to-back away victories by winning at Horsham in the FA Cup on Saturday – and their character is starting to shine through.
It represents a vast improvement since the departures of Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan earlier this month.
“The players are a bit happier with what they’ve done (in the last fortnight) and I’m glad for them,” said Burman.
“They’ve been under a lot of pressure this season. I don’t like to see players upset and not happy, because if they’re not happy off the field then they’re not happy on it.
“I’m really pleased for all of them.
“Of course it affects them. It’s a group thing what’s happened but worse things happen than managers losing their jobs.
“The players don’t mean to (lose games) so they were upset as well. It’s about trying to get the basics over and that’s what myself and Paul Sawyer have tried to do.”
Confidence is starting to return to the players, and Burman knows their FA Cup tie at Horsham might have had a different outcome had it come while morale was low.
“Last week we deserved our victory at Concord but the important issue was that we got our clean sheet,” added Burman.
“It was the first time this season and I didn’t realise that (until you told me).
“We knew we were the favourites to win here as we’re in a higher league but it doesn’t always work like that.
“The pressure was on the guys but winning last week has helped them with that pressure. With all due respect, three weeks ago it might have been a different story.”
With on-loan Southend defender Rob Howard not permitted to play, youngster Cameron Brodie impressed at the heart of midfield at Horsham.
Burman knows better than most the potential among the club’s academy, with Sam Odoudu and Max Walsh – who both featured in the FA Youth Cup two days earlier – on the bench at Horsham as well.
“Look at Cameron Brodie, he has just turned 18, and has played a full game in the middle of the park,” said Burman.
“We had to make a change and he’s come through it, that can only do well for his experience.
“You have to be careful with the younger guys. We had two others who played on Thursday night in the FA Youth Cup on the bench, one of them is only 16.
“Listen, they are going to be good players, they really are. They see what’s gone on and in the academy it’s lovely football but they do have to work hard to succeed at this place.”
Burman remains in charge for this Saturday’s National League South clash at home to Slough.
“It’s another team who have won three or four on the trot. We’ll worry about ourselves and what we can do,” he added.
More by this authorMatthew Panting