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New Dover Athletic coach Paul Barnes on his new role at Crabble as Whites start pre-season with wins against Sevenoaks Town and Margate

New Dover coach Paul Barnes is excited to work with “clubman” Jake Leberl.

Ex-Margate, Ashford United and Welling United man Barnes, also formerly at the helm with Dulwich, Corinthian-Casuals and Hastings, arrives ahead of Whites’ new Isthmian Premier campaign.

Paul Barnes - has been speaking about his new position as a Dover coach. Picture: Keith Gillard
Paul Barnes - has been speaking about his new position as a Dover coach. Picture: Keith Gillard

He will join manager Leberl - a popular former Dover player - and Mike Sandmann in the dugout.

“Jake knows exactly what the club stands for,” said Barnes. “If you were to pick out what a clubman is, it’s Jake.

“Jake will not let any player take to the pitch, wearing a Dover Athletic shirt, without them understanding what it means to play for the club.

“I’m excited to work with him.”

Barnes expects to be Dover’s first-team coach - but isn’t overly-concerned with the position he is handed at Crabble.

Dover's Luke Baptiste - scored as Whites started pre-season with a 2-1 victory at Sevenoaks at the weekend. Picture: Randolph File
Dover's Luke Baptiste - scored as Whites started pre-season with a 2-1 victory at Sevenoaks at the weekend. Picture: Randolph File

He said: “As long as the team is performing, I’m not precious.

"Jake just asked me to get involved.

“Mike is down as assistant manager - so I guess I’m first-team coach. I’m pretty happy with whatever, really, regarding that.

“I’m big on analysis so I’ll definitely help out with that. That’s part of my own motivation and ethos.

“Mike has been a brilliant help in getting young lads through to the first team.

“I think that’s something we want to do in terms of developing young lads.”

There is a plethora of exciting young talent at Dover, who have come through the youth-team ranks under Sandmann, including teenage attacker Archie Hatcher. Hatcher has spent time on trial at Blackburn this summer.

Barnes said: “We have got guys like Luke Baptiste - I’m excited to work with him - and George Nikaj is someone who can push on, as well, because he’s young, as well as Henry Young.

“There’s some really exciting lads in there that I’m excited to work with.

"If we can produce these young lads, that’s great.

“I know supporters want to win games week in, week out but, if we can get two or three of these guys pro, that will be a massive achievement for the club.”

Whites have suffered two relegations in three years, having previously been an established National League side.

“I know the club well,” said Barnes. “They’re a great club.

“You only need to look around the stadium to see how good the facilities are. It’s got a great reputation so why wouldn’t I want to be involved at a club like Dover?

“I definitely feel like I can add to what Jake wants to do, that’s for sure.”

And, for now, Barnes is hoping to help Leberl bring the good times back, with defenders Harrison Pont and Jeremiah Gyebi among the latest to have agreed to sign.

On the club’s main goal for the forthcoming season, the coach said: “It’s about consolidation for the club.

“Everyone knows the struggles that they have been through - but now, it’s just about being competitive and I guess showing the way the club wants to go, moving forward.

“We need to just show that Dover is an attractive place for any player.”

Whites started pre-season with a 2-1 victory at Isthmian South East side Sevenoaks last weekend as a trialist and Luke Baptiste scored.

Barnes said: “It was a good starting point.

“People need to remember that it was only day three of pre-season. The signed boys showed exactly what they have been signed on Saturday.

“Some of the trialists did themselves a world of good, as well. It’s exciting.”

Dover were 2-1 winners at Margate thanks to goals from a trialist and Gyebi this Tuesday.

Whites host Ramsgate on Saturday (kick-off midday) and travel to Whitstable next Tuesday.

They are set to host an open training session tomorrow from 7pm until 8.30pm at Crabble with entry free.

Deal have started pre-season with three consecutive victories.

Forward Rory Smith bagged a stoppage-time winner against Whitstable last Tuesday in a 2-1 victory after summer signing Josh Vincent struck in the first half.

Defender Vincent was also on target in Friday’s 3-0 win against Canterbury City after Owen Wilkinson bagged a brace on Friday night.

Steve King’s side also saw off Kennington 3-1 on Monday evening.

They will host Ashford United in their first FA Trophy tie since 1974 on Saturday, September 7, while they also have been handed a home tie against Roffey in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday, August 3.

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