A FOOTBALL club remains confident it will start the next season in its new stadium despite archaeologists digging up the pitch.

After the discovery of Iron Age remains, including tools and coins, a team of archaeologists is now digging up what will be the community pitch area of the eagerly awaited Princes Park Stadium.

Exploration work on the site, which is set to be the new home of Dartford Football Club, started in July.

A more in-depth investigation is now under way and will take two months to complete.

But a spokesman for Dartford Council said the work is still on schedule.

The archaeological dig was not one of the council's listed risks, which included bad weather conditions, which could delay the stadium's August completion date.

An agenda accompanying a council cabinet meeting on September 22 states the programme of works to allow the project to be completed in time for the 2006/07 football season is already tight.

At the meeting Councillor Patricia Thurlow admitted she was unaware a dig was taking place at the site but later added: "It was just a miscommunication.

"I'm not worried it will delay things, just looking forward to seeing it up and running."

Dartford FC chairman Bill Archer said: "I've been assured everything is still on track and I'm sure we'll be in there for the next season."

The £6.5m stadium will have a 5,000-crowd capacity, function rooms, a bar and an all-weather training pitch.