*BS*CRAIG CLOKE has been told to rein in his attacking runs down the right-hand side for the good of the team’s balance on the park.
*BF*Clokey, always eager to bomb down the flank to get crosses in to the front players, says he is resisting the temptation to get too far forward – so the shape of Clive Walker’s side does not get disjoined when the opposition are in possession.
He said: “Lee Spiller and I have been combining well down the flank – but the team need me to concentrate on my defensive duties, first and foremost.
“Because of the kind of player I am, it’s always tempting to push on and get those crosses in. However, Glen Knight has already been getting on my case and I know it’s important to make sure the team keeps it shape.
“I’m enjoying playing to the right of the back three and it’s been so far, so good.”
The defender admits Whites did not play to the required standard during the second half of the 3-1 win against highly-fancied Dulwich Hamlet.
However, a strong defensive platform enabled Dover to deal comfortably with the Dulwich frontline, preventing them from getting back into the game.
He said: “They were playing some very good football and we were struggling to get the ball from them. But we were so solid at the back and, apart from their goal, they didn’t really look like scoring – so we were well pleased with that aspect of the game.
“However, as a team, we know that the performance wasn’t up to the level we need to be at to be up there challenging for promotion this season, so have got to improve on that.
*Q1*”But, when I look around the squad, I think we will get better. There’s so much experience in there and Byron Walker has been a revelation since signing from Chatham.
“I call him ‘Bye Bye Walker’, because he can say that to defenders when he goes past them for fun.”
Proud Dovorian Cloke says the off-the-field news that Whites have paid off the CVA debt has given the team a huge lift.
He insists chairman Jim Parmenter should take a lot of credit for how he has made the club more professional – both on and off-the-field.
He said: “A lot of fans don’t know or see what the chairman does down here. He and his wife, Sally, organised a big party in a marquee at Wallett’s Court recently for everyone at the club. It allowed us all to mix socially and things like that strengthen the bond at Dover Athletic.
“One of the first things Jim did was getting the lads wearing suits before and after matches. Some other people might see it as us being “Charlie Big Times”. That’s not the case at all. It’s just a case of our lads understanding that they are representing Dover Athletic – and that we should conduct ourselves professionally and set a good example.
“It’s a very good thing, in my opinion, and it’s one of a number of things that Jim has brought in at the club – that professional touch.
“Also he is passionate about the team – and he pops up to virtually every training session, making sure everyone is alright and he likes to see the work ethic running right through the club.”
*Q2*Whites face a tough fixture against Fleet on Saturday and Cloke knows, from last year’s experience when we drew 1-1 at Crabble, that they will not be giving the lads an easy ride.
He said: “It’s a tricky one and we’ve got to be 100 per cent right on the day to ensure we get the three points. We’ve learned a lot from last season and got a rude awakening to Ryman League Division One.
“However, I believe we’re a lot better for that experience and understand that we have to close games out. And, hopefully, fingers crossed, we’ll do that a lot more this season, than last time round.”