All you need to know ahead of trip to Kent
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.
GAME ON? With the wet weather predicted in the south east there is a chance the game could be in doubt but the Dartford groundstaff are doing everything in their power to ensure the game goes ahead. THERE WILL BE AN EARLY MORNING INSPECTION on Saturday.
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 12 noon 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.
The Hatters have been allocated 36 per cent of the overall capacity of Princes Park for Saturday’s game. That’s 1,500 and all tickets are now SOLD OUT
. 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. The Darts lie just one place off the bottom of the table and five points from safety. 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), did, however in their past two games they have won 2-1 at Kidderminster and drawn 3-3 with Cambridge, the latter having been 2-0 down.
LOAN RANGERS. Hatters duo Alex Wall and Jim Stevenson are both currently on loan at Princes Park but will not be available to play in the game. Wall made his debut in that win against Kidderminster, whilst Stevenson is in his second month on-loan with the Darts. He scored his first goal for Burman’s side in a 1-1 draw with Welling two weeks ago.
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 have doubts over the fitness of Pelly Ruddock after he picked up an ankle injury in his final development match for West Ham. Alex Lawless is also doubtful with an eye infection but the Town have Alex Lacey and Andy Parry fully fit once more, although both are likely to need match practise before any first team involvement.
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