Dartford boss admits sense of relief after Salisbury relegation hands his club reprieve

News Shopper: Tony Burman. Picture by Keith Gillard. Tony Burman. Picture by Keith Gillard.

Manager Tony Burman admits he was relieved after Dartford were reinstated back into the Conference following Salisbury City’s demotion to the Conference South.

The Wiltshire club’s financial problems caught up with them on Friday when the league decided they had to pay the price with relegation.

That handed Dartford an instant return to the division they dropped out of in April and Burman is now determined to make the most of the reprieve.

He said: “I was relieved and very happy when I heard the news.

“As a club we want to play at the highest level of non-league football and now we’ve been given another chance to do so.

“You’ve obviously got to feel for the Salisbury players, manager and fans the way this has all come about but we are seemingly the ones to benefit from the decision which was taken.”

The decision means Burman has to prepare for another season of nationwide trips to the likes of Gateshead and Wrexham, something neither he or his recent additions were expecting.

“I have been planning for a title challenge in the Conference South and signing players with that in mind,” the Princes Park chief said.

“However, I firmly believe those new signings can do a job in the Conference and that they will want to stay.

“Travel is obviously a big factor for part-time players who have to go to work the next day but you have to give and take.

“What I do know is travel becomes less of an issue when you are winning games, it is when you aren’t doing so well you start noticing it more.”

But despite their reprieve, Burman isn’t necessarily convinced Dartford would be in a better position to cope better next time if they suffer a repeat mid-season injury crisis.

“The league table didn’t lie,” the boss admitted.

“We had our problems, notably losing six key players with long-term injuries.

“It isn’t as if we have a 25 or 35-man squad, it is 16 to 18 so having half a dozen of those ruled out is going to have a massive impact.

“Those players are under contract and you are still paying them while bringing in another six on loan to cover their absence.

“Long-term injuries can just as easily happen again and it is just something you have to accept as a part-time side with a small squad.”

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