*BS*BECOMING reserve manager has happened quickly and it has not been an ideal time of the year to change things round – but Gary Whittle thought he had gone as far as he could and it needed some fresh ideas.
*BF*The gaffer asked me to get involved and I jumped at the idea. Last season, when Andy and Darren joined the club, I was asked to get involved with watching the opposition and keeping an eye on the younger players that we have at the club.
I really enjoyed this but there is nothing better for an ex-player than to still be involved in the dressing room. The Dover dressing room for the past two seasons has been second to none with some great characters and as near to being professional as you can possibly get.
Needless to say, as well as the players, I have learned a great deal as well.
Gary very kindly contacted the current reserve team squad before Saturday’s game to let them know of the changes.
A couple of the players thought their future was away from the club and I had two suspended players as well.
I was very pleased with the response of the players that were selected for the match and I even had two lads from the Under-18s who made their debuts.
And, along with the rest of the team, they did well in securing a 3-2 win away at Cray Wanderers on a terrible pitch that could do with a few hours of Dick Peters’ expertise!
The pitch was that bad that it was very hard to judge anybody as it was difficult to play with any fluency.
On Wednesday night, we played at home to Ramsgate and won 4-3 and apart from some very sloppy defending in the first 30 minutes, we settled down and had a much better second half.
*Ppic1*The gaffer was at the game and offered some very good advice as usual and identified a few key areas which we needed to change.
I was very lucky to be able to play James Rogers from the first-team squad and he managed to gain a very valuable 90 minutes on the pitch and his attitude and work rate was spot on as usual.
We also had a Georgian goalkeeper on trial as well and this highlights the point that we want to try and give everybody a chance of playing at Dover Athletic.
If a player contacts the club and he is not contracted, we will give him every opportunity to prove himself with the reserves.
We are always looking to improve the squad and along with giving trialists a chance, it keeps the current squad focused on improving their own game and performing to the best of their ability.
We are also very pleased with our youth and junior teams at present and feel we are heading in the right direction with these boys.
Darren Beale is manager of the U18s and his assistant is Richard Crutchfield and their lads are a credit to the football club. They had a terrific run in the FA Youth Cup this year, which was well documented and are putting in some goods performances in other competitions as well.
Many of this squad will be involved in the reserve-team this season.
*Q1*At Under-16s, Michael Sheridan is the manager and his assistant is Dominic Castle and the reports we are getting are very encouraging.
We managed to involve two of their squad in the reserves set-up on Wednesday and it is my intention for them to play some part in the reserves in the near future.
Assisting me with the reserve team are Darren Beale and Dominic Castle. Both of these guys are at least UEFA B qualified coaches and I respect their views and opinions. Obviously, their links to the U18s and U16s are very useful as well.
Going forward, I want to see the reserve team performances improving week by week and the lads to be disciplined and giving 100 per cent whenever they put on a Dover shirt.
It’s a great time to be at the club for the youngsters!
My team will try and bring as much as the first team professionalism to the reserves as possible.
One thing I have always prided myself in during my playing career and now is having a positive attitude, being professional and giving no less than 100 per cent to the cause.
We already have a group of loyal supporters who follow the reserves and I thank you all for your continued support and good luck messages.