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Dover boss Chris Kinnear looking forward to life in non-league’s top flight, the Vanarama Conference

By Richard Harvey

The time for rehearsals is over. Now it’s the real thing for Dover Athletic.

And it couldn’t be on a bigger stage than playing in non-league’s top flight, the Vanarama Conference.

Chris Kinnear’s side host FC Halifax at Crabble on Saturday and the boss can’t wait to get started.

He said: “We play teams who all finished in the top six last season in our first three games. That’s what it’s all about – we want to be playing these types of games.

“It’s an exciting time for the club and we can do ourselves justice. The players have got the ability and if we come up short at all, it won’t be through a lack of trying.”

Kinnear’s side ended a stunning pre-season with a 1-0 win at Chatham on Tuesday to finish with nine wins and a draw in 10 games.

Tom Murphy scored Dover's goal in the 1-0 pre-season friendly win at Chatham on Tuesday. Photo: Tony Flashman

Tom Murphy scored the only goal in the opening minutes.

And Kinnear would love to see that form carried into the season proper.

He said: “I want to win every game. I know you have to stay realistic and accept that isn’t going to happen but we’ll do our best.

“We’ve played two League 1 sides in pre-season (Colchester and Gillingham) and did not look out of place against them. It will be interesting to see how we go.”

Whites travel to Braintree on Tuesday.

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