Lodge u-turn brings better player back to Ks
Kingstonian boss Alan Dowson is satisfied winger Dean Lodge will not let him down – 12 months after the Ks manager insisted he would never play for him again.
The former QPR trainee was in the Ks line-up for Saturday’s 3-1 friendly win at Dorking Wanderers having left Carshalton Athletic at the end of last season.
Lodge’s relationship with Dowson has always blown hot and cold, as the former Kingsmeadow player of the year has left the club and returned more often than his 184 appearances and 48 goals might suggest.
The 26-year-old has often cited a difference of opinion with the Ks boss and an ambition to play at a higher level for the reasons behind his many departures.
But Dowson has insisted the pair have finally had a meeting of minds that he hopes will fire his team to a Ryman Premier League promotion push this term.
“I have left myself open to plenty of stick because when he left the last time I said I’d never manage him again,” he said.
“He approached me about coming back and we had a frank one-on-one discussion. “We told each other a few home truths. When I looked in his eyes I believed a lot of what he was saying.
“He knows I’m the only manager to have got the best out of him. “I think he has seen sense and he has told me he wants to give everything to prove himself again and prove he wants to be here.
“We haven’t had anyone like him at the club since he left and I think I have signed a better player than he was when he left.
“It might only last two weeks, you never know. But we’ve got something in common. He needs me and – in my heart of hearts – I think I need him.”
Kingstonian kick-off their pre-season preparations on Monday night with the visit of Tottenham Hotspur to Kingsmeadow – the first of three Premier League teams to visit the club this summer.
Ks host Fulham and Chelsea during the course of their friendly schedule, with the latter visiting the day before the club’s Charity Shield clash with Manchester City.
Some have questioned the validity of the clashes, with Sutton United boss Paul Doswell pointing out he would rather see his team play a full strength League One side than a top flight development squad.
But Dowson has hit back at doom mongers predicting his side will entertain team’s packed with Premier League wannabes and also-rans rather than the real deal.
“Whichever way you look at it Chelsea are the biggest team in Europe at the minute,” he added.
“These teams have massive squads and Chelsea can’t play all of them in the Charity Shield. There will be players that need minutes.
“Chelsea have just paid £4m for a 15-year-old, so they have quality players whoever they are. There might be one or too current stars on show and one or two stars of the future.
“If a team in Spain was playing host to Barcelona people would be scrambling over each other to see them no matter what team came down.
“These are huge games for us and they will only help us be ready for the Ryman League season.”