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Dover Athletic manager Mitch Brundle supported by ‘massive figure’ in his life scout Errol Johnson during opening-day National League South 2-2 draw against Torquay United

Boss Mitch Brundle has hailed a new face who joined him in Dover’s dugout as “a massive figure” in his life.

Brundle, presently without an assistant, was supported by south London scout Errol Johnson for their 2-2 comeback home National League South draw against well-fancied Torquay on Saturday.

Midfielder Iffy Allen, right, came off during the first half of his competitive Dover Athletic debut in their 2-2 home draw against Torquay. Picture: Stuart Brock
Midfielder Iffy Allen, right, came off during the first half of his competitive Dover Athletic debut in their 2-2 home draw against Torquay. Picture: Stuart Brock

Johnson’s an Arsenal talent scout and also presently works with the Mad About Football Academy - which has helped support Liverpool defender Joe Gomez among other players who went on to play professionally.

Asked where he was with appointing a new No.2, Brundle, who turned out for Braintree, Dagenham & Redbridge and Gateshead in his playing days, replied: “Nowhere at the minute.

“It’s not a rushed process. Errol Johnson was with me on Saturday.

“I’ve known him since I was 13. He’s been a massive figure in some of the players recruited but, also, he recruits players for the Premier League and stuff like that.

“He has a massive understanding of football. The boys really respect him.

Report: Dover 2-2 Torquay

“I’ve improved tenfold”

“I’ll keep him around me, like I have done my whole life.

“He’s a massive figure in my life and the reason I’m where I am today.

“He has played a vital influential part in me becoming a footballer, me becoming a manager and me becoming a man.

“I like to keep people like him as close to me as I can for as long as I can. He’s more my person that I like to keep with me.

“In terms of being my assistant? No.

Dover manager Mitch Brundle. Picture: Stuart Brock
Dover manager Mitch Brundle. Picture: Stuart Brock

“But he’s a very intelligent football man so I do listen to a lot of what he says.”

Brundle also revealed Johnson played a crucial role in half-time discussions as goals from new frontman Zidan Sutherland and Roman Charles-Cook helped them fight back for a point.

“He’s a key factor in what we did at half-time as well,” he said.

“He notices things that I don’t notice when I’m watching the game.

“He’s recruited players that have played for England, played in the Premier League week in, week out, and have gone on to play for Liverpool 200 or 300 times.

“He’s recruited them from 14 to 16.

“So he’s got a fantastic part to play.”

Former Portsmouth, Exeter and Cambridge midfielder James Dunne was handed the captain’s armband for the new-look Dover team.

While Brundle may end up giving the 33-year-old a role in his backroom staff, too, those talks can wait for now.

“I want him to focus on the game,” the manager, 28, noted.

“I’ve had a player-assistant role and it’s a tough role.

“There’ll be another staff member in. When that’ll be, I don’t know.

“I fully trust myself, regardless, although I do listen to other people.

“At the end of the day, it’s my final decision but it’s good to have input from people who aren’t just ‘Yes’ people to me.

“I don’t like ‘Yes’ people. I’d rather people challenge me in certain aspects.

“We’re just moving along. There’s no rush and I’m quite comfortable as we are right now.

“But, obviously, there will eventually be someone else coming in.”

Among those to impress on their competitive Dover debuts was Oreofe Bello, who replaced winger Iffy Allen (hamstring) as Brundle gave a message to those not included in his first XI line-up and squad.

On Bello, he said: “He was fantastic.

“You can sit there and sulk that you’re not in the starting XI, or sit in there and sulk that you’re not in the squad, but there’s 45 more games to play.

“I don’t deal with sulkers. If you’re going to sulk, then you might as well not be here.

“It’s a long season. Maybe a striker, who everyone thinks will be the star man, doesn’t play because the other forwards are doing well.

“Some games suit certain personnel better. I’ll pick it on what team I think is going to win - not who’s done well.

“I pick my team on what I think is best to win that game of football. I’ll continue to do so.

“If that means upsetting a couple of people because they’re not in the squad, of course I want them to be disappointed.

“But I always have said since day one when we started pre-season, if you’re going to sulk, sulk with me.

“Don’t sulk with the [other] players, just go around and make sure they’re on fire for the game.

“I pick a team, their team-mates don’t, so don’t sulk with them.

“If you’ve got a problem, then sulk with me. I’m big enough and ugly enough to deal with it – and I’ll always tell them honestly.

“I won’t beat around the bush. I’ll tell them the reasons why.

“Obviously I won’t do it at the game but, come Tuesday, I’ll speak to people individually.

“They’ll be thinking ‘I want to play’ - everyone wants to play - and I get that.

“But the fact is there’s going to be a lot of changes throughout the season.”

Dover will aim to build on their first outing when they visit Slough, another team tipped to struggle, this Saturday. They travel to rivals Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday.

On Slough, Brundle said: “Everyone’s a different side this year.

“I’ve got to go and watch what they did on Saturday. That’s my work this week.”

Versatile defender Will Moses, 20, has signed for neighbours Folkestone after his summer exit from Crabble.

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