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Dover keeper Mitch Walker believes the race for promotion will be tight

By Alex Hoad

Keeper Mitch Walker admits the start to Dover’s season has gone better than anyone could have expected.

Saturday’s superb 1-0 win at Tranmere, in a game televised live on BT Sport, took Whites within two points of the top of the National League.

Given the summer upheaval at Crabble, which saw every regular first-team player bar Walker leave the club, many expected Whites’ influx of new faces to take time to gel.

Mitch Walker. Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Mitch Walker. Picture: Barry Goodwin.

However, victory at Prenton Park was their third in four away games, during which they have conceded just twice.

Walker said: “We’ve made a good start and it’s good that after eight games we are within two points of the top. Most people would have gladly taken that if you’d offered it before the start of the season but it’s still only eight games in.

“You have to work so hard to earn every point in this league, everyone is capable of beating everyone else and as you can see from our games, none has been decided by more than one goal. It is so tight.”

He added: “Promotion is what everyone wants, of course, and that was made clear to us. It will be tough to win the league but it doesn’t really matter if you sneak into seventh and the play-offs on the last day of the season by one goal, so long as you then make the most of it.

“The longer you keep in the mix at the top the better because it will eventually start to sort itself out, so it’s good to be in the mix so early.”

On Saturday, Dover head to Aldershot, the ground where Dover’s last promotion push ultimately came unstuck in April, when a penalty handed Shots a 1-0 win and ensured they eventually finished three points and one place ahead of Whites in the final National League play-off place.

Walker added: “It was a frustrating day. Whenever we play them, home or away, it is always tough. We’ve never had an easy game against them but I’m sure if we play like we did on Saturday, we will do ourselves justice.

“We are not going to look too far ahead as we have two tough games now, with Boreham Wood to follow (at Crabble) on Tuesday (7.45pm) – they have started well, too.”

As for the rebuilding project in the wake of so many high-profile departures this summer, Walker added: “If anyone else had been involved then you might have worried but when it’s the gaffer (Chris Kinnear) and his team, you know there is nobody better to put your trust in.

“We have been good at this level the past few years and last season was the only one where we didn’t improve. He always brings the right people in – young and hungry – and it looks like he’s done it again.”

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