CHELMSFORD City manager Rod Stringer has insisted that the FA Trophy is as important as any other competition to his side.

Speaking ahead of what should prove to be a mouthwatering second round tie with old adversaries Dartford at Princes Park, Stringer said: “The competition is definitely important to Chelmsford City. We’ve been asked the same about all the competitions, even the Essex Senior Cup, but the club has been on its haunches for a few years.

“City have been a little bit starved of success in terms of promotions or a trophy. You’d probably need to go back to the Colchester United game for the last time people sat up and took notice of us in terms of a cup run. However, we are trying to work on that and staying in the competition with a win over Dartford is exactly what we want to do on Saturday.”

The Clarets chief admitted that his side faced a difficult test from the Darts, but, as ever, he was looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead, adding: “We know it is going to be tough. We know that they are a good side, especially as they have just beaten East Thurrock United 6-1. We have already played them twice, drawing here in the league, then almost pulling off the unthinkable in the FA Cup when we were 3-0 down. We really pushed it. Only the post and the bar that stopped us from earning a replay.

“Like ourselves, Dartford have strengthened in one or two areas. I know their manager, Tony Burman, very well. His teams have always been in and around the play-offs. Indeed, not too long ago they were in the top division of the National League. I think they have kept quite a few players from that period, they are still what I would call an experienced side.

Stringer continued: “Princes Park is always a little bit of an awkward place to go to. It is reasonably a new stadium and they get a decent crowd over there who can be quite volatile and vocal. We have got to go there and try to be slightly better on the day in the right areas.

“I think anybody looking at it can see that it is going to be a tough game. But I’m sure Dartford would rather have had another draw as much as we probably would. But we’ll be ready. The two new strikers are available, which gives us a little bit more firepower. I’m sure it will be a really good game. The best side on the day will be the one still in the hat.”