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Dartford manager Ady Pennock discusses the return of former Aston Villa and MK Dons midfielder Samir Carruthers from Chelmsford City

Manager Ady Pennock has spoken glowingly about playmaker Samir Carruthers after he agreed to rejoin Dartford.

Carruthers initially arrived at Princes Park in early 2022 but moved to Chelmsford last summer after getting an offer he couldn’t turn down.

Samir Carruthers enjoyed a successful spell first time around at Princes Park - and will return to Dartford for the 2024/25 season. Picture: Keith Gillard
Samir Carruthers enjoyed a successful spell first time around at Princes Park - and will return to Dartford for the 2024/25 season. Picture: Keith Gillard

The one-time Aston Villa and MK Dons man has returned, though, alongside keeper Jacob Marsden, who also makes the switch from Chelmsford.

Pennock said: “I didn’t know Samir previously but, as soon as I met him, we hit it off straight away.

“He will be really good for us - on and off the pitch - with his character and enthusiasm. He just has that aura about him.

“He’s very energetic. The two or three times we did meet before he signed, I just got a really good feeling from him.

“His football ability is important - and he’s a very good player - but I want people who want to play for the badge, as well.”

Dartford manager Ady Pennock. Picture: Steve Terrell
Dartford manager Ady Pennock. Picture: Steve Terrell

Carruthers, 31, netted 10 goals in the Darts’ 2022/23 campaign, suffering National League South play-off semi-final disappointment that term.

“He did well when he was here before,” said Pennock.

“I think the club made a lasting impression on him, as well, with the people in the background and, most importantly, the supporters.

“The football club itself is a good selling point. Everything you want is there. Samir fell in love with the club in the time he had here before.

“There were other clubs interested in him, so we’re really pleased to get that one over the line. He brings experience, is a good age and is in his prime.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

Carruthers will reunite with 27-year-old Marsden, who should bring much-needed stability to a position that saw several players used last season.

Pennock revealed: “Jacob has been living in Norwich but is moving to London with his partner. So, I just jumped on that.

“I went up the A12 to meet him.

“His character and personality is the perfect fit. He’s a very good keeper.

“For one reason or another, he didn’t get as many games as he wanted at Chelmsford last season.

“But he’s an excellent talker. He’s just a good, all-round goalkeeper, and a leader as well.

“You will hear him on the pitch! On and off the pitch, he will be excellent for us.

“He brings the whole package.”

Those summer recruits were announced after the addition of former Norwich and Crystal Palace midfielder Denzelle Olopade, most recently with Phoenix Sports and Ramsgate, was confirmed.

Pennock said: “I knew him from when he was at Norwich. He then went to Crystal Palace.

“I think he got lost in the system a little bit, he got a bit disappointed by Crystal Palace. He’s then been at Ramsgate and Phoenix.

“But he’s a young man who I’m really looking forward to working with. He came to the stadium with a friend of his and his initial impression was ‘Wow, this is amazing!’.

“Yes, he might have a bit of a point to prove but he’s energetic and a good size.

“With the likes of Samir in midfield, he will learn and push on. Hopefully, we can improve him.

“He could be a bit of a surprise next season.

“I will give some chances to the Dartford Academy lads, as well. We have some good players in there.

“If we can gel some of them and get a mix - with the likes of Samir and Jacob - that’s what I’m looking to do.

“The experienced ones will be important.”

There’s still plenty of work for the Darts boss to do, though.

Pennock added: “I will not be stopping until the start of the season - and maybe even after that. But I’m not rushing into anything.

“There’s hundreds of players that don’t have clubs and a lot of players weighing up whether to move or not.

“I just want to get things as right as I can.”

The Darts have confirmed pre-season fixtures at home to Charlton (July 6), Gillingham (July 23), Sutton United (July 27) and Boreham Wood (August 3).

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