Dartford clash will not determine Sutton's play-off future

First published in Sport Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

Sutton United boss Paul Doswell has warned a win over Dartford on Saturday will have no influence on the outcome of the Blue Square South play-offs.

United drew 1-1 with Bromley on Saturday before goals from Tony Taggart and Craig Watkins secured a 2-0 win at Dover Athletic on Monday.

The results mean Doswell's men are all-but assured of a place in the division's top five and a shot at promotion to the Blue Square Premier.

Only seventh-placed Basingstoke Town can overhaul them providing the win all their remaining five games and United fail to secure more than a point from their last three encounters.

Sutton lost 6-1 at second-place Dartford the last time to the two teams met and the Gander Green Lane chief insisted that result and Saturday's match will be a distant memory come the end of season lottery.

"We know and I will keep telling the players, that we can beat anybody in this league on our day. We have only lost six games all season," he said.

"The play-offs will be a completely different situation to this weekend and the league. They are complete one-off games. Anything can happen and the rest of the season doesn't count.

"We saw against Kingstonian a couple of years ago, that it only takes a couple of moments of magic to leave your season in tatters.

"I feel sorry for Dartford because the number of points they have would win you a league in any other year. They, and Woking, are the two best teams in the league by a distance."

Striker Stefan Payne's goal against Bromley was his first since returning to the club last month after unsuccessful spells with Fulham, Gillingham and Aldershot Town.

But Dowell, who shuffled his pack at the weekend to keep players fresh, insisted it would be a while before he was back to his best.

"Stefan is a bigger and stronger player than he was previously," he added.

"He is still only 20-years-old and you look at him and think he can achieve exactly what he wants to.

"He has had a chance at pro football and it didn't work out, but he has got a second chance with us to get his career on track.

"Stefan hasn't played an awful lot of football over the last two years, so with a pre-season behind him, he will be flying next year."

Centre back Anwar Uddin was sent-off against Bromley and will miss next week's trip to Salisbury City, while Simon Downer starts a three-match ban on Saturday in the wake of his early exit at Hampton & Richmond Borough.

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