Published: 06:00, 26 August 2021
The season may only be two games old but playing for Dartford has been everything new striker Dan Roberts expected.
Roberts bagged a brace against St Albans on the opening day and followed it up by giving former club Slough the runaround at Princes Park on Saturday.
It’s already clear that the 23-year-old is going to have a big part to play in Dartford’s promotion push this season.
Manager Steve King told Roberts he’d get plenty of chances playing for the Darts - and he’s not been wrong so far.
“That’s one of the biggest things that the gaffer said when I came and had a meeting with him,” admitted Roberts. “He said you’re going to have chances and chances, again on Saturday I had three or four chances.
“Even the last 10 minutes when I came off, watching our fluidity and possession was brilliant. Obviously, we’re a possession-based team but when we turn it on we can break through lines and you get little passes through and nine times out of 10 it is going to come off.
“For a striker to get three, four, five chances in a game is dreamland for you and hopefully most weeks I can take a couple of them.
“When this offer came up there was no way I could turn it down.
“The first conversation for me, from that point I wanted to be involved. A lot of the other new boys said the same as well.
“We’ve got an unbelievable changing room and that shows on the pitch as well, the connections are there early, between midfielders and strikers, defenders and midfielders.
“We’ve connected really well and it’s showing in our performances. We’re all here for the same reason, we want to do as well as we can, pick up points and wins, and I think we’re doing that really well at the minute.”
But for an excellent performance from Slough keeper Jonathan North, Roberts would have netted against his former club.
It was the only disappointing factor for Roberts, who showed the result meant more than personal glory when he unselfishly set up George Porter to score 10 minutes from time.
“There was only one option and that was to put it on a plate for George and let him make it 3-0,” said Roberts.
“You kill the game, it takes the pressure off and you can play with a bit more freedom and know you’re in pole position for all three points.
“Of course, I’m gutted not to score against them. You look at the chances and think it would have been nice to get one or two against my old team but on another day you get two or three. It’s one of those where I’m disappointed but also over the moon to get the win.
“I had a good two years at Slough but I’m a Dartford player now and it was about doing well for the team. It was nice to see old faces and people that I’m familiar with but it was all about getting the three points.”
Roberts was given a typical welcome to the game by Slough centre-back Ryan Bird, who clattered into him in the opening five minutes.
“I saw one of them coming and I knew it would be Ryan Bird as well!” smiled Roberts. “You’re going to get stuff like that, boos from the away fans and tackles early on, but it’s all part of the game.
“As it grew on it was about us taking our chances and putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Roberts knows a good season personally will likely go hand in hand with the Darts reaching their collective goals.
It’s a different mindset to the one he was used to at Slough, but it’s a scenario he is looking forward to.
“With only one place for automatic promotion, there’s going to be five, six, seven teams fighting for that spot,” he said. “You’ve got to start quickly and get ahead of the game, you’d rather be up there than start chasing.
“If we can keep our minds set on the next game and take it one at a time then there’s no reason why we can’t be a frontrunner and have everyone chasing us. We want to finish as high as we can.
“The ambitions here are clear straight away, everyone is on board with that and we all want the same thing. That’s a big part of why we’ve started so well this season, everyone has the same vision and we’re all working on that together.
“I want to score as many goals as I can. I’m going to get chances here, for me it’s about putting the majority of them away and that should put me in a good place at the end of the season with the goals I score.
“The more I can score, the more it helps the team get the three points.”