CRAIG CLOKE already hates his new haircut – and believes it has brought him bad luck in front of goal.
The Whites ace – who scooped all four club player of the year awards last season – could not stop scoring during pre-season, bagging four in seven games.
But, since having his head shaved for the new season, he has failed to find the onion bag in the opening two Ryman League Division One games.
Yet, thankfully, Dover have not needed Clokey’s goals as front pair Craig Wilkins and Tommy Tyne have been on fire.
He said: “I’m going to grow it all back again. I reckon it’s brought me a bit of bad luck. I seemed to be scoring for fun – but since the real action has started I’ve been disappointed not to get on the scoresheet.
“But Wilko and Tommy have been a revelation up front for us and it’s great to see them pairing up again for Dover. I wouldn’t have thought there were many better front two in this division than them.
“It’s a good job they have been on-form because defensively we’ve not been too clever, especially in the first half at Horsham.”
Whites gifted Horsham two first half goals early on by playing just three defenders at the back on what proved to be a wide pitch at Queen Street. That ended up proving our downfall and Clokey is the first to admit that.
He said: “Clive Walker changed the formation at half time because our tactics ended up not being right for that kind of pitch. It was extremely wide and our game is centred around squeezing space.
“With a lot of width, they were pinging balls behind Dean Readings and Nicky Humphrey. Horsham had a lot of pace on their flanks and they were just ripping us to shreds, as we were not closing them down.
“Once Clive put four across the back, their game plan went out of the window and from that point we were a much better side – and deserved to win.
“It’s been a good positive start by the lads. Two wins out of two against a couple of the fancied sides. We’re on a bit of a run and it’s important we keep that going.”
Whites travel to Division One colleagues Lymington and New Milton in the FA Cup Preliminary Round – a stage of the competition the club have not entered since the 1980s.
However, that could prove a blessing in disguise as there is prize money available for every round a club progresses and few could argue that Whites have, on paper at least, a squad more than capable of getting through the early stages of the competition.
Clokey said: “It’ll be great for us to just keep that winning run going and to earn a bit of money for the club. We don’t know too much about Lymington and New Milton but that’s been the case for a lot of the sides we’ve met over the last couple of seasons.
“We certainly will be up for it and are determined to put in a strong away performance. We can be confident of winning but the team will not be taking them lightly, that’s for sure.”
The secret to Whites’ recent success, says Clokey, is the tremendous team spirit within the camp.
He said: “We all get on well together and have even started going for nights out together after games. We’re effectively all mates and it makes us want to work hard for each other on the pitch.
“I’ve never known such a high morale at Dover. It really is something else and we’re all pulling in the same direction to help get the club back up the divisions.”