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Dartford joint-boss Adam Flanagan explains thinking behind reluctance to start matches with three strikers

By Matthew Panting

Dartford are resisting the temptation to unleash all three strikers in their starting line-up.

On-loan forward Darren McQueen was left out of the starting line-up against Hampton last week, with the returning Charlie Sheringham paired up top alongside Phil Roberts.

Playing all three from the start has been considered by the Darts, but joint-boss Adam Flanagan explained they’d rather keep the team’s width.

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

“It’s something that we’ve thought about and potentially we might go forward with,” said Flanagan.

“But Ryan Hayes offers a lot and he put a lot of crosses into the box that we weren’t able to capitalise on against Hampton.

“In games you need width and Hayzie and Ben Greenhalgh on the other side give us that.

“If we’re playing games where teams are being quite compact and defensive then we’ll need width and we’ll need our wingers to perform.

“We’ve got four good wingers and three good strikers, so it’s competition for places and Jamie (Coyle) and I are happy with the strength in depth.

“Everyone has fulfilled their suspension so it’s an interesting few weeks ahead.”

Darren McQueen is competing with Phil Roberts and Charlie Sheringham for a place in Darts' starting XI Picture: Andy Jones
Darren McQueen is competing with Phil Roberts and Charlie Sheringham for a place in Darts' starting XI Picture: Andy Jones

With six National League South games remaining, Darts remain on course for a play-off spot but they’ll be keen to gain maximum points at home to relegation-threatened Truro this Saturday.

Not only do they need to get back to winning ways, but their 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture while Truro ground-shared at Torquay in October was one game that particularly annoyed Flanagan.

“Going to Torquay this year hasn’t been the best of trips to be honest!” he said.

“We really under-performed there, and they performed well on the day. They caught us out with a few goals that we shouldn’t be conceding and it was a bad day.

“Hopefully on Saturday we will improve on the points return and set us up the best way to win the game. It’s a game they need to get something from so both teams come into it looking to get points for two different reasons.”

Darts preserved their unbeaten home run with McQueen’s stoppage-time equaliser against Hampton.

They last tasted defeat at Princes Park in early December
and Flanagan is keen to extend that run.

“Your home record sets you up for the season and it’s been reflective of us this year,” said Flanagan.

“It was definitely important to get something from the Hampton game. You have to take the conditions and how the game panned out into account and with five minutes to go we were losing.

“You push forward and commit bodies and hope you get an opportunity.

“We had a bit of luck with Darren’s shot being deflected in but overall this year with losing Pughy (Andy Pugh) at the start of the season we haven’t had much luck, so maybe we deserved a little bit.”

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