I hope we have the honour of beating Burgess Hill twice, says Dartford boss Tony Burman
Unbeaten Burgess Hill Town are three points clear of the Ryman League Division One South table, having collected 20 wins and five draws from their 25 games.
Ian Chapman’s invisibles are three points clear of Faversham Town, with three games in hand over Ray Turner’s side.
The Hillians’ have lost only once in 40 league and cup games this season and that was a 3-1 defeat at Dartford in The FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on 25 October 2014.
Burman travelled down to Leylands Park to watch Burgess Hill Town beat third-placed Folkestone Invicta 3-1 last night.
Rob O’Toole and Pat Harding gave the Hillians’ the lead inside the opening 28 minutes, before they lost captain Darren Budd in the 32nd minute to a red-card for showing verbal dissent towards a match official.
Left-back Sam Fisk killed the game off five minutes before the break, before Frankie Chappell headed home a late consolation for Neil Cugley’s side.
Burman hopes his side can progress through this difficult FA Trophy Second Round clash to progress through to the last sixteen.
“I’d love to keep the Trophy run going,” said Burman, following his side’s 2-1 home defeat to Kidderminster Harriers last Sunday.
“It takes the pressure off to a certain extent but having said that we’re under no illusions that things are going to be easier or anything like that.
“I want the players to enjoy at least some of the things that go on at this club. If they work as hard as they did (against Kidderminster) then they’ll cause Burgess Hill a lot of problems.
“No-one will be taken for granted, especially myself. I know exactly how to approach the game. We’ll be putting full squads out, make no mistake. I’m going there with a full squad.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s another tough game in what is a very tough season for us.”
Dartford slipped down a place into the bottom three in the Vanarama Conference table, having won five and drawn eight of their 28 league games.
The Kent side are seven points adrift of safety and have eighteen league games remaining.
Reflecting on Burgess Hill Town’s remarkable playing record, Burman said: “They’re on home ground but we’ll respect everything that they’ve done and I can’t give them enough credit with what they’ve done with their games so far.
“We have the honour, if you like, of being the only team to beat them. I hope it’s the honour of the only team that’s beaten them twice.”
Burman has said that he has “got some money to play with,” to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window, but Jason Outram, the club’s finance director, insists the club will not spend what they can’t afford to maintain the club’s top-flight status.
“As a board we are keen that the club progress to the highest level attainable,” Mr Outram said in a statement, posted on the club’s website.
“Unfortunately in this day and age this is capped by the available funds. That said we will always seek to achieve and move forward.
“With that in mind when we set this year’s players budget with Tony, we included an estimate to cover our hoped for achievement in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. A risky option, but with appropriate contingencies in place we felt it was worth the risk to try and improve on last year.
“So far we have met our expectations financially, but we have not exceeded them by much.
“At this time of the year we review the budget and I would hope to squeeze a little extra for Tony for the rest of the year, but this is not going to mean we can afford significant changes.
“As the only accountant on the board I do find I am often repeating the phrase “We cannot spend what we do not have.”
“My fellow board members are very cognisant of the events of 1992 (when the club went bust) and we do not want to repeat that time again.
“This does mean we cannot always do what we or the fans want. Currently we are on budget. We had in preparing the figures, forecast a small loss for this year that could be covered by our reserves.
“We do, however, understand, and indeed share, the fans concern over the position in the league we currently find ourselves.
“It would be good to be able to increase the players’ budget, but without additional revenue the head has to rule the heart (I’m afraid that is an accountant speaking) and I do appreciate not everybody wants to hear that.”
A suggestion would be for clubs to play their games on different days of the week, for example, on Friday nights, Sunday afternoons, and possibly kick-off earlier on a Saturday, for example at noon, to entice more fans through the gate.
Mr Outram added: “If anybody has any useful suggestions for us increasing the income of the club I would be pleased to discuss it with them.
“As a board we are always exploring alternative income generating opportunities and looking to maximise the revenue streams we have, in order that we can provide the fans with the opportunity to watch exciting football.
“Unlike a lot of businesses where you buy an item and sell it at a profit, football has an added complication being the vagaries of the sport. Buying more expensive players does not always guarantee an improved performance, injuries and illness also take their toll.
“The path forward is not necessarily straight but as a club we do want to push forward to the next challenge and do appreciate the loyal fans willing us onward.”
The winners of this weekend’s Second Round ties will scoop £6,000 in prize money.
Visit Dartford’s website: www.dartfordfconline.com
Burgess Hill Town v Dartford
The FA Trophy Second Round
Saturday 10th January 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Leylands Park, Maple Drive, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 8DL