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Match Previews

LET'S GO: DARTFORD PREVIEW

1 April 2014

All you need to know ahead of trip to Princes Park

WHERE? Dartford play at Princes Park, a new stadium opened in 2006. Its capacity is 4,100 with 645 of that seated. The full address is Grassbanks, Darenth Road, Dartford. The postcode’s pretty cool too – DA1 1RT – which spells Dart, the club’s nickname – if you discount the 1s.

ECO FRIENDLY. Forget Forest Green, Princes Park is far from the kind of identikit stadium that springs up around the country, it now and it’s got a reputation for being one of the greenest – environmentally, not the colour – in the country. Solar panels top the stands, rain water is collected and re-used, timber beams support the roofs and vegetation keeps the place warm. Oh, and there’s even a big wooden carving of a man staring out from the middle of the terrace on the side of the pitch.

HOW DO I GET THERE? It’s just shy of 60 miles from Kenilworth Road to Princes Park. Take the M1 south, M25 clockwise. After going over the Dartford Crossing leave the motorway at Junction 1b and take the left-hand slip road for A225 Dartford. At the roundabout at the end of the slip road above the motorway turn right the Esso garage onto the A225 towards Dartford. Go straight across the next roundabout, passing a BP garage on the right. At the next set of traffic lights turn left into Darenth Road and then take the second left into Grassbanks for the stadium.

BUS, TRAIN OR PLANE. Don’t fancy driving? The Bobbers Travel Club are, as usual, running a coach to Princes Park. They leave at the bottom of Oak Road at 4.30pm and the fare is £19 for adults and £16 for concessions. Call 01234 856542 to book your place. If you’re going by train, Dartford is served by services from Charing Cross and London Bridge. The station is a 15-20 minute walk from the ground. If you want to take a plane, well, London City airport is only 18 miles away.

ALL TICKET. The Hatters have been over 40 per cent of the overall capacity of Princes Park for Tuesday’s game. 1,500 were sold in advance for the original date of the fixture back in February, whilst 200 of an extra 300 allocation was sold as of Tuesday morning. It’ll be predominately terracing for Town supporters at Princes Park with only a tiny amount of seats available once you get inside the ground.

LAST VISIT. The Town’s last visit, in February last year, was pretty miserable. The Darts won 1-0 thanks to a stunning strike from Paul Hayes – the only bright moment in a drab 90 minutes on a freezing cold Tuesday night. 

HOW THEY DOING? Not great but they are improving. The Darts are just now two points from safety with a game in hand thanks to some excellent recent form. Tony Burman’s side, who lost 3-0 against the Hatters earlier in the campaign (Paul Benson, Luke Guttridge and Alex Lawless with the Town goals), have be aided by the goals of Alex Wall and midfield drive of Jim Stevenson, both on loan from the Town at Princes Park. Burman’s boys have won five of their last 10 games, losing just twice.

LOAN RANGERS. Hatters duo Wall and Stevenson are both currently on loan at Princes Park but will not be available to play in the game. Wall made his debut in a win against Kidderminster, whilst Stevenson has been at the Kent club since January Darts. Stevenson scored his first goal for Burman’s side in a 1-1 draw with Welling, whilst Wall has grabbed six goals in 11 matches.

EX-FACTOR. Manager John Still is perhaps the most obvious link between the two clubs, having managed both in his career. The current Hatters boss enjoyed a successful spell in charge of the Darts between 1983 and 1986. In 1983/84 he guided the Kent club to the Southern League Premier Division title which earned promotion to the Alliance Premier – aka the Football Conference.

TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Hatters will continue to be without Jonathan Smith, Luke Guttridge, Danny Fitzsimons and Andy Parry through injury.  

STILL SAYS: “I know Dartford, I know their players inside out and know them all personally, most of them anyway. Tony 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 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.”

LIVE & DIRECT. We’ll have all the news as it happens from Princes Park. Pre-match build-up, team news, live text and audio commentary, a report, reaction, photographs and interviews. Remember to keep it lutontown.co.uk, Hatters Player and check out our ever-growing Facebook and Twitter feeds. And keep an eye on our Instagram, Vine and YouTube accounts too for good measure #COYH.

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