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Maidstone United head of football John Still on back-to-back games against his old club Dartford

The prospect of back-to-back clashes with Dartford doesn't faze John Still.

Maidstone travel to Princes Park in National League South this Saturday and they'll meet again at the Gallagher seven days later after Monday's FA Trophy third qualifying round draw paired the Kent rivals.

Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United head of football John Still Picture: Steve Terrell

On top of that, there's a Kent Senior Cup second-round tie to arrange.

Stones head of football Still said: "It's just how it is. I suppose it's a bit strange but I'm not a superstitious person.

"Whenever a game comes up, whatever competition it's in, all you can do is plan your team in the way you think is best.

"There's no magic wand, it's who have we got Saturday, we've got Dartford, right, what's the best team to play in this game, what's the best formation?

"If we play one game and it doesn't quite work, we think OK, shall we have a look at something else in the next game? That's fine."

Still will be up against one of his old clubs having led Dartford to the Southern League title in the early 1980s during their days at Watling Street, where Maidstone would end up groundsharing.

His star striker was former Darts boss Tony Burman, who will be in the home directors' box on Saturday, while their new manager, Steve King, worked under Still at Dagenham.

"I love local derbies, they're special games," said Still.

Tony Burman played under John Still at Dartford Picture: Sean Aidan
Tony Burman played under John Still at Dartford Picture: Sean Aidan

"It's my old club and that gives it a little edge when you've worked somewhere else, albeit many years ago.

"I loved Watling Street. We had some great games there, we had a very good team and we won the league to get into the Conference.

"I was comfortable when we went there with Maidstone the year we won the Conference.

"I always had a good rapport with the Dartford supporters so going there didn't worry me.

"I was aware there was a bit of resentment but we had such a successful time, it didn't bother me.

"Tony Burman played centre-forward for me at Dartford and I still speak to him quite a bit.

"He was a very good player, very clever, and he scored loads of goals.

"Kingy worked for me at Dagenham and he's a good football person.

Ross Marshall is available after suspension Picture: Helen Cooper
Ross Marshall is available after suspension Picture: Helen Cooper

"He's been around the game, he always seems to find a job and that tells you a story that people are happy to employ him.

"Kingy will do a good job there, he will. He's hardworking, enthusiastic and it'll be a tough game for us.

"The highest-placed team doesn't always win but it'll be a good atmosphere."

Ross Marshall is available after suspension but could be kept out of the side by Colchester loanee Cameron James.

Maidstone shouldn't need to change too much after their performance in the FA Cup win against Torquay, with Still's tactics spot on.

"Sometimes I look at things quite deeply because I'm boring and don't watch telly!" said Still.

"Seriously, people say to me have you seen Peaky Blinders, have you seen Game of Thrones and I say I haven't seen anything.

"If it's not football or music, I'm not interested!"

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent


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