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Dartford FC back in training and talking to a striker about joining the club

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Dartford are in talks with another striker in the week their new-look squad reported back for pre-season training.

There were plenty of new faces on Monday night when Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle held their first session of the summer.

So far the Darts have brought in eight new players and they may not be finished in the transfer market yet.

Dartford joint-manager Adam Flanagan Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford joint-manager Adam Flanagan Picture: Andy Jones

But joint-boss Flanagan insisted they were “very close” to completing their squad with the National League South kick-off five weeks away.

He said: “Mark Onyemah’s had an operation on his knee, so it’s likely we will have to start the season with a new left-back.

“Even if Mark recovers in time, he hasn’t played since February and I don’t think he’ll play many minutes in pre-season so it’s too much of an ask to put him straight in.

“He starts rehab next week and then it’s four to six weeks.

“Maybe (we’ll sign) another forward but it needs to be the right fit. There’s one player we’re speaking to but if that doesn’t materialise, we’ll probably leave it how it is for the time being.”

With a year’s experience under their belts at Princes Park, this pre-season has a different feel for Flanagan and Coyle.

Flanagan said: “Because of the way things materialised and everything was delayed, I felt last year was more of a panic.

“Everything seems more settled now. We’ve contracted a lot more of the team so we know that with regard to turnover of players, that won’t be the same level we had last year.

“That’s in keeping with what me and Jamie always wanted and traditionally, what Dartford’s been about as a club.

“We’ve got a lot of new faces this year and we need them to bed in with the existing characters. That process is really important.

“We’ve signed some very good players and we’ve got to make sure they come together.

“It’s all right having good players in your squad but it’s what you do on the pitch that really counts and that will only happen if they come together as a group.

“That’s a big aspect of what we’re trying to do within our training sessions, trying to get them to gel and become familiar with one another.”

Don’t expect to see too many unfamiliar names on the Dartford team sheet once the friendlies start.

Mark Onyemah is recovering from knee surgery Picture: Andy Payton
Mark Onyemah is recovering from knee surgery Picture: Andy Payton

Flanagan said: “We’ve got a few trialists in but because the recruitment side of things went well, there’s not a lot of opportunities for trialists.

“We won’t just bring trialists in to make the numbers up, we’d rather use the academy lads if we need more bodies.

“We’ve got a good blend of non-league players with some of our Dartford youngsters and they’ll definitely get chances over pre-season.

“We’ve got good strength in depth this year so we’ll see how they do in pre-season and if they set pre-season alight, maybe they’ll have to be involved.

“We see a couple of these youngsters as potentially being big players for Dartford.

“Whether they’re straight into what we’re doing now or they need to go somewhere and get some competitive match minutes with the idea of coming back in the latter half of the season or even for next year, that’s what Ronnie Vint did in his early days and it might be that it works like that.

“But at the moment they’re training very well and doing everything we want from them.”

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