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Dartford start their National South season at Bath City as new boss Alan Dowson targets promotion

Manager Alan Dowson has set himself a two-year target to achieve promotion with Dartford.

Dowson has won promotion with his three previous clubs, Kingstonian, Hampton & Richmond and Woking, and has been tasked to take the Darts up to the National League following on from successive play-off disappointment.

Dartford boss Alan Dowson hopes to achieve promotion within two years Picture : Keith Gillard
Dartford boss Alan Dowson hopes to achieve promotion within two years Picture : Keith Gillard

He’s reshaped the squad over the summer after taking over from Steve King with forward Pierre Fonkeu the latest to sign, impressing on trial with the club.

Winning promotion at the first time of asking will be the aim but he’s experienced enough to know that these things can take time.

The 52-year-old said: “I do believe I can do it and think I do need two years, because when you first come in late, it will take a little time.

“I want to do it this year, of course I do, but if I don’t do it in the next two years then someone else should do it, that’s the way I look at it. If I didn’t think I could do it then I wouldn’t have come.

“There are a lot of big-hitters, money-wise, in our league but the people here run the club right, they don’t want to get into debt, so fair play all round.

“If I was asked what the ambition is, then it’s promotion.”

A 1-0 loss to Canvey Island on Saturday ended Dartford’s pre-season in disappointing fashion. They had previously played Charlton, Millwall, Barnet and Bromley, with mixed results but positive performances.

The National South season starts with a trip to Bath City, a team that finished fourth from bottom last time around. Dartford finished fourth from top, but frustratingly lost to Chippenham Town on penalties in the play-off eliminator.

“You never know how good we are until the start of the season,” said Dowson.

“You get some good games in pre-season, some bad ones, we will see how good we are on Saturday and I am looking forward to it. I am excited, that is when it will really count.

“I have loved it here so far, it is just a shame we play in black and white stripes as I’m a Sunderland fan, but apart from that it’s all right!”

With Charlie Sheringham absent at the weekend with an injury picked up last Tuesday at Chatham and Alex Wall only just returning from his own niggles to make a late appearance against Canvey Island on Saturday, the signing of former Cameroon under-23 international Pierre Fonkeu will help with the attacking options.

*Dartford have been given a bye in the opening round of the Kent Senior Cup.

They will play neighbours Ebbsfleet United away in the second round of the county competition. Ties to be played by November 30.

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