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Dover assistant boss Jake Leberl expecting National League heavyweights to mount challenge

By Steve Tervet

Dover can go back to the top of National League this weekend – but they’re wary of the division’s big hitters finding form.

Whites welcome Maidenhead to Crabble on Saturday and follow that with another home game against Woking three days later.

They’ve hit top spot twice already this season and go into the games just one point behind leaders Macclesfield.

Jake Leberl says Dover must be ready when the National League's big hitters find their form Picture Tony Flashman

Jake Leberl says Dover must be ready when the National League's big hitters find their form Picture: Tony Flashman

Dover assistant manager Jake Leberl said: “I don’t think we expected to be top at this stage of the season with a new set of players.

“No one’s hit the ground running and the points tally this year is the lowest it has been for a few years. Normally there’s a team running away with it – I remember Forest Green winning their first 12 – but it’s so tight up there now.

“It gives a massive morale boost and we’re doing something right to be sitting right up there at this stage.

“The league’s as strong as it’s ever been. There will be clubs that are going to go on a run once it settles down and there’s no reason we can’t be one of them.

“We’re a third of the way through the season. If we can strengthen the squad, if and when players become available, we’ve got as good a chance as any. But I am mindful that the big boys will get their act together and get themselves on a run.”

Hartlepool, Tranmere and Leyton Orient are still languishing in the bottom half but Leberl can’t see them staying there much longer.

He said: “They’ve got some talented players who are used to dealing with the situation they’re in and that type of club will get themselves up and running.”

Saturday’s visitors Maidenhead won National League South last season and have made an assured start under manager Alan Devonshire.

Leberl said: “I’m a massive fan of his. You’re only as good as your manager and you look at what he does, year on year, with the clubs he’s been at.

“He knows what he’s doing. He gets a bunch of guys who give everything, are physical, strong and well organised and he always does well."

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