Wednesday 14th December 2005

Play-off's are not beyond us - Burman

With his side in the last eight of the Kent Senior Cup, Dartford manager Tony Burman wants his side to go six league games unbeaten as they tackle in-form Wingate & Finchley at Stonebridge Road on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Darts defeated Ryman Leaguers Cray Wanderers 3-1 in the county cup competition last night, courtesy of Ryan Hayes' 6th goal of the season, Eddie McClements (8th) and winger Dave Martin (5th).

Burman's talented side are eighth in the Southern League Division One East table and have picked up 11 points from their last five games. 

But the North Londoners, who have recently knocked AFC Wimbledon out of the London Senior Cup and won at Sittingbourne, are also enjoying a purple patch, picking up 9 points from their last five outings.

"It's a difficult game," Burman admitted in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk.  "I don't think they've been beaten for five league games and have been picking up some points which is credit to them.

"I think they had a poor start but they seem to have got their act together and it will be another difficult game.

"We have to be on the ball and do the things I want us to do on the field."

Burman praised his talented wingers Hayes and Martin but he demands the two former Slade Green players must improve their defensive game.

"I felt they were outstanding on Saturday and against Cray I didn't think they performed as well as they should do, as their level has to keep to a certain standard," said Burman.

"They're two young lads and they're learning but we've got to encourage them to do the right things and not give the ball away cheaply.  For some reason it happened (against Cray) and we'll do our best to put them right for Saturday.

"Potentially their the best two wingers in the Southern League East as far as I'm concerned," praised Burman.  "I want to improve them to get people down here watching them if they're not already watching them."

So what can we expect from Dartford in 2006?  "The players will have a season under their belts and I want them to learn this season," replied the Darts stalwart.  "Some of them are young lads and I want them to learn and try to encourage them to play good football but intelligent football, and if I can achieve that I'll be well pleased."

Can Dartford reach the play-off's?  "We'll see," the manager replied.  "We're potentially good enough!

"We wanted to stay in the top half of the table this season.  If we get into a play-off position come April, I'm fine.

"If we get second or first that's fine as well.  Nothing's beyond us I don't think, but we've got to carry on and be consistent and hopefully we can just keep in touch."

Burman is satisfied with his squad, especially after fringe players Tommy Olson, Lee Craig and Craig Maguire impressed against Cray, but the manager doesn't rule out delving into the transfer market if needed.

"I'm quite happy.  I've got a squad of around 20 people I'm trying to keep happy," he said.  "If someone comes along I will have a look at things.

"There have been some names banded about recently, and with Kevin Spriggs injured for about a couple of months we might have to strengthen there. But the lads that have come in have stated their case to be involved if people are injured."

Dartford v Wingate & Finchley
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 17th December 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet