Dolan: Count me in for relegation scrap

Joe Dolan during his Millwall days
Joe Dolan during his Millwall days
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Joe Dolan is relishing the challenge of keeping the Hawks in the Blue Square Bet South.

The central defender had no hesitation in making the move to Westleigh Park from rivals Staines recently.

And despite the Hawks hovering above the relegation zone on goal difference alone, he is confident his new club can survive.

The former Millwall centre-back said: ‘I was at Basingstoke for three years and we got out of a few scrapes there.

‘Hopefully my experience at this level can help some of the younger players cope with the situation.

‘I’ve always been up for a good scrap and I am not thinking about my summer holidays quite yet.

‘In the position we are in it is very much a mental and confidence thing.

‘The team has been shipping goals but in the last couple of games we have tightened it up.

‘The more games we play together the greater the understanding we will have.

‘You can’t run before you start to walk but we have improved areas.

‘Now we must maintain the same work-rate and go out and do what the manager asks of us.’

Dolan kicked off his career at Chelsea before he became a first-team regular at Millwall.

During his stay at The Den, he made a number of appearances for Northern Ireland under-21s.

A broken leg saw him sidelined, though, and he failed to regain his spot in the Lions side.

Now a 32-year-old PE teacher, Dolan had loan spells at Stockport County, Crawley Town and Brighton before dropping into the non-league game.

The well-travelled defender has since played for Canvey Island, Basingstoke, Carshalton Athletic, Croydon Athletic, Cray Wanderers, Lewes, Kingstonian and Bromley before moving to Staines Town.

A no-nonsense presence at the back, he made his Hawks debut in the 6-3 win at Dorchester Town at the end of February.

He is just the type of vocal leader Shaun Gale’s side has been lacking.

And he is not just a force on the back foot, either – providing a danger in the opposition’s box.

The Hawks drew with Tonbridge Angels on Saturday, as the visitors struck late on to snatch a point.

While disappointed, Dolan has warned his team-mates to keep their heads as the battle for survival hots up.

‘If we’d won it would have given us a huge lift and it was a sickener to drop two points,’ he said.

‘At the same time we could have lost it at the end.

‘It is important to keep our heads when things are going against us.’