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Dartford boss Tony Burman wants his players to work harder when they face Gateshead in Vanarama Conference

Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Richard Eaton
Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Richard Eaton

Dartford’s players have been told to up their work-rate for this weekend’s trip to Gateshead.

A wretched first-half display against Eastleigh on Tuesday was redeemed by the Darts’ efforts after the break as they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.

But manager Tony Burman knows they can’t afford to keep playing that poorly if they want to survive in the Vanarama Conference.

He said: "Before anything else, the work-rate is a must. If you work hard and close people down, you’ll get something out of the game.

"I haven’t been able to say that we’ve worked really hard many times this season.

"There is a gulf between us and teams like Eastleigh. If you look at experience at (playing at) higher levels, they’ve got some real quality players. We want to play against those players but I don’t want to make them comfortable. We’ve got to roll our sleeves up and get closer to people.

"Gateshead is another game. It’s a tough game but they’re all tough. We’ve got to prepare in the right way, work hard and try to get something."

The Tynesiders have made a flying start to manager Gary Mills’ first full season in charge, taking 16 points from their opening eight games. They start Saturday’s game fourth, while Dartford are down in 21st and yet to win on the road.

Darts striker Andy Pugh is a doubt after missing the Eastleigh game with an Achilles problem, although Danny Harris should have recovered fully from his ankle knock.

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