Still expecting local derby mentality at Dartford

Hatters boss John Still is expecting the clash between Dartford and Luton on Saturday to have the atmosphere of a local derby, writes Mike Simmonds.
John StillJohn Still
John Still

Still managed the Darts between 1983-1986, leading them to the Southern League title, while assistant boss Terry Harris also played for Dartford and coached there too.

Speaking ahead of the match, Still said said: “I know Dartford, I know their players inside out and know them all personally, most of them anyway.

“Tony (Burman, Darts manager) is a good friend of mine, he’s played for me at two clubs.

“Because of the knowledge that I know so many of them, and they know Terry (Harris) and Hak (Hakan Hayrettin), it makes it almost a local derby because of the people that are involved.

“We’ll be going there trying to get as many points as we’ll can, that’s what it’s about now.

“It’s just about going and scratching and fighting, so whatever you can take is a plus.”

The Town chief admitted that he was quite disappointed the Darts still find themselves in the relegation zone after a run of six wins from their last 11 games.

He continued: “What’s hurt me a bit for Dartford is they’ve had a reasonable run and they’re still in that bottom group.

“It’s hurt me a bit as I thought they might be able to get out, but they’re fighting for their lives now.

“This is the stage of the season as everyone’s fighting for everything. Some are fighting for the play-offs, some are fighting to stay up.

“You might have the four or five that couldn’t get care less about the result and that makes them dangerous.

“They’ve (Dartford) got everything to play for and as they showed against Macclesfield on Saturday and against Cambridge, it’s going to be tough and I know it’s going to be tough,

“But I love tough. That’s what’s going to make me a better manager.

“If we were going out there and winning 6-0 every week what would I learn? What would I know?

“I’m really happy with tough games and whoever we play, it’s the toughness that for me is the key. I love it, that’s when you realise you’ve done something and achieved something.”

On the threats that Dartford, who will be without on-loan Luton duo Alex Wall and Jim Stevenson possess, Still added: “I just think Dartford are a hard-working side, (Elliot) Bradbrook, (Danny) Harris, they’re good honest players.

“(Tyrone) Sterling at left back, we had a little while at Dagenham, (Rory) McAuley who they brought in on loan from Cambridge.

“Alan Julian in goal, he’s been a top goalie and is still a good goalkeeper.

“They’re all hard working, the staff too, and they’re going to try and draw maximum out of their players.

“The support will get behind them, they’re great supporters, and all of that is there to test my players to make them strong and better.”

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