Home   Dover   Sport   Article

Dover Athletic boss Jake Leberl praises club’s off-the-field team - including support from ex-players Paul Hyde and Jimmy Strouts - as he begins planning for side on the pitch after committing to stay next season

Jake Leberl has praised Dover’s off-the-field team but knows he needs to build one to deliver on the pitch next season.

Whites manager Leberl will remain at Crabble for the 2024/25 campaign, despite the club suffering National League South relegation.

Dover boss Jake Leberl. Picture: Randolph File
Dover boss Jake Leberl. Picture: Randolph File

Leberl believes Whites chairman Jim Parmenter can still see positive signs despite their struggles.

Dover have been calling on the experience of ex-goalkeeper Paul Hyde and former midfielder Jimmy Strouts to help them out.

“I think he (Mr Parmenter) has been relatively pleased - not with the relegation, of course - but I think he can see what we're trying to do,” said Leberl, who also praised No.2 and Academy boss Mike Sandmann and club stalwarts, husband-and-wife team Paul and Debbie Harrison.

“He knows I care and that I’ll do the best that I possibly can. From my point-of-view, I want to help the club as much as I can.

“Mike has been absolutely brilliant. I would like to put it out there that all of us will try to stay together next season.

“Paul Hyde comes into training and helps with the goalkeepers, and he gives advice because he has got a lot of experience. Jimmy Strouts has been in and out, on the phone and helping out, so we have got a lot of good people.

“Debs and Paul have been at the club for 20-odd years. They do the kit. There’s good people that care about it.

“There’s a good team off the field - now, we have got to do our best to get a good squad, a good spirit and a good team on it.

“Hopefully, we can grow as a club and start getting numbers back through the gates.”

Leberl believes building a new Dover squad for their return to Isthmian Premier football will still be a challenge.

On sorting out his own future, Leberl said: “It’s more important that we get a squad sorted.

“Unfortunately this club is renowned a bit for it (working with a limited budget) and I think it’s going to be the same again next year, where it’s going to be difficult to have a squad built in time for pre-season.

“Obviously, that’s what you really want, to work with a group from the first day of pre-season, but it doesn’t look like it’ll go that way.

“With the relegation as well, I can appreciate the lads wanting to stay as high as they can. It’s going to be that waiting game.

“We will see what goes on.”

Whites battled back to earn a 1-1 draw at Hemel Hempstead last weekend.

With Bishop’s Stortford - already relegated from National League North - thumped 7-0 at South Shields, Leberl was pleased with the character his squad showed as they got a late equaliser through an own goal.

He reflected: “I’m just disappointed, really, in the way we started the game but they were difficult conditions.

“I’ve never seen a 3G with a big slope before, to be honest! The ball just ran off the pitch every time we tried to pass it.

“Overall, it was a terrible game but we got something out of it.

“We didn’t give them too many opportunities. We dug in and it keeps us ticking over.

“I looked at the Bishop’s Stortford result - they lost 7-0 - and they have been relegated from National League North.

“It’s such a psychological thing. If you let it, you can get yourself into quite a bit of trouble.

“Although we’re relegated, we have got to keep going because it will have a knock-on effect next season.

“We have got a very young group. They have got their careers ahead of them and every game should mean a lot to them.

“You never know who is watching. They have got their own careers to think about.

“More importantly for us, the club has been on such a downward spiral so we have got to have the right attitude for every minute of every game.”

Dover’s leveller came from a cross by Roman Charles-Cook and Leberl admitted the right-sided player is one he would like to keep.

“I have spoken to Roman,” he said. “Like the others, I think he wants to stay as high as he can, so it’ll be a waiting process.

“He has done very well.

“He has got some great attributes, parts of his game he needs to improve on but, obviously, he will have that, being such a young lad.”

Whites are almost certain to finish bottom ahead of their final three fixtures, starting at seventh-placed Hampton & Richmond this Saturday.

Leberl said: “We have got Hampton and then a long trip to Truro - I think we will probably be playing at Gloucester City - on Tuesday and then we have got the champions (Yeovil).

“They’re three difficult matches. Hampton have had a really good season, although they have petered off a little bit of late.

“But we have got two results in our last two games and I certainly don’t fear going to Hampton.

“Obviously, they’re a good team to be where they are in the table and they need the result, so they’re going to be up for it.

“But hopefully, we can turn up.”

Experienced defender John Oyenuga (knee) pulled out in the warm-up at Hemel while recently-signed forward Kai Garrett (Achilles), brought off at half-time, is managing an injury.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More