*BS*Dover go back to a ground with fond memories on Saturday. Returning boss Clive Walker will be hoping for a repeat of Whites’ play-off victory last May when a Craig Wilkins goal sent Dover through.*BF*
Met Police boss Jim Cooper is also looking forward to the game, hoping to complete the double over Clive Walker’s men after his side’s 1-0 win at Crabble in December.
Cooper told metpolicefc.co.uk: “I always look forward to welcoming Dover. They have a fantastic support and it all adds for a good afternoon at Imber Court. They are riding high at the moment and we are in the business of trying to catch them along with the other teams around them.
“I’m not going to make predictions, all we can do is show the same level of commitment we did at Fleet last week and give it our best. If we do that we have enough class to give ourselves a chance of winning the game. I’m sure Clive Walker feels the same.”
The Met’s joint top-scorer Ben Abbey, formerly of Woking, scored the only goal at Crabble earlier in the season when a tame Whites performance saw Police leave Crabble with all three points.
Abbey seems to have disappeared off the scene recently but fellow joint top-scorer Barry Stevens is back from injury and new signing Adolf Amoako (who seems to be competing with Kevin Cooper in the journeyman stakes) has scored twice in the last two games.
*Ppic1*Cooper told thisislondon.co.uk last week: “We have to think that we can grab one of those (play-off spots). If I can pick my strongest 11, we will be close.
“I believe we have the strongest squad in the league and, if we can all stay fit, then we have got a chance.”
Cooper’s beliefs may be questionable but after thrashing Fleet away last Saturday, the Met must be considered as genuine challengers for the play-offs. Having someone like Amoako in his armoury, you can understand the manager’s bullishness. The lightning-quick striker has run rings round Whites in the past and the Dover defence will need to be alert to stop him doing it again.
Dover need to take something from the game to boost confidence ahead of next Saturday’s local derby against league-leaders Dartford at Crabble. The return of Daniel Braithwaite was a welcome fillip in midweek and having someone with his passing ability in the run-in would only strengthen the team.
Saturday will be Athletic’s 30th league game of the season. After the same number of matches last term 49 points had been won. 48 from 29 is the current tally. The usual poor mid-season run from November through to March has occurred. Only the inconsistency of others has meant Whites are still in contention at the top.
Another stellar end to the season like Dover displayed last season is needed if Dover are to be in with a shout of the title in this ever-tight league. Keeping up the scoring record in what is a comparatively good run-in for Whites compared to other challengers will be vital.
Whites seem to be getting the rub of the green in front of goal at the moment, with all four goals against Maidstone and Leatherhead this week the result of some interesting officiating. Long may it continue!
*Lpic1*Team news remains positive for Clive Walker. Craig Cloke and Craig Wilkins are slight doubts after picking up knocks on Tuesday night but are expected to line up at the back alongside my current vote for player-of-the-season Matt Bourne.
Bradley Spice may still be out after tweaking a hamstring at Tooting, while Daniel Braithwaite could be involved after lasting 80 minutes against Leatherhead. Danny Chapman remains the only definite absentee.
*BS*Squad for Met Police from:*BF*
Glen Knight, Darren Smith, Tony Browne, Jack Tanner, Sam Vallance, Craig Cloke (doubt), Nicky Humphrey, Matt Bourne, Craig Wilkins (doubt), James Rogers, Daniel Braithwaite, Lee Spiller, John Keister, Liam Quinn, Shane Hamshare, Paul Linger, Byron Walker, Tommy Tyne, James Dryden, Bradley Spice (doubt).
*BS**IS*Thirteen games to go… Come On You Whites!*IF**BS*