Daventry Town boss Darran Foster has heaped praise on skipper Liam Dolman, and said the defender’s experience will be key in the big FA Cup clash at Chesterfield on Saturday (ko 3pm).
Former Cobblers defender Dolman has been one of Daventry’s star performers this season, and is one of a handful of the Town squad that have played at Football League level.
Dolman made 54 appearances for the Cobblers over a two-year period, with his final game in the claret and white being a 3-0 defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road in May, 2009.
That result confirmed the Cobblers’ relegation from league one, and Dolman was released that summer by then Town boss Stuart Gray.
He has since played for the likes of Kidderminster Harriers and Corby, but never again won a contract at a League club
Dolman, who is nicknamed Bully, has instead settled on simply enjoying his football at Communications Park.
He will be one of the first names on Foster’s team-sheet ahead of Saturday’s game, and the Daventry manager said:“Bully has been absolutely tremendous this season.
“We know full well that clubs have come in for him this year, but he has decided to stay with us because he enjoys it.
“I’m not one to say that he’ll never move on, because he is a tremendous player.
“He carries a bit of weight, but the bloke as a footballer is great for our level.
“He is a massive, massive part of our success at the minute.”
Asked what’s special about Dolman, Foster said: “He is 10 yards in front of everybody, and what he lacks in pace he gains in brain.
“There has been so many times with teams, when they have gone out on the pitch and thought ‘we’ll have a good go at him, let’s do this, let’s do that’, and they have come unstuck.”
Dolman is likely to be tested by the likes of Chesterfield striker and former Sixfields club-mate Marc Richards a bit more than he is at Calor League level week in, week out.
But Foster believes Dolman’s experience of playing at places like Elland Road in front of 35,000 people will mean he won’t be fazed by a 5,000 crowd at the Proact Stadium.
“Bully has been there and done it, and on Saturday that will hopefully brush off on a few of the lads,” said the Town manager.
“He will hopefully sort them out, because he is captain as well, and his experience will be crucial.”
Dolman isn’t the only Daventry player to have already played in the FA Cup first round, as the trio of Richard Morris, Ryan Howell and Josh Blake have done as well.
Their experience wasn’t a happy one as their Leamington team was thumped 9-1 at Colchester United in 2005, but Foster doesn’t feel that will affect them.
“We have two or three players that have made the first round before, although I don’t think they will want a repeat of that result,” said Foster.
“But they will be good people to have in the dressing room.
“We do have youngsters but we do have some good experience there as well.”