By Jon Couch
Alfie Pavey is prepared for the prospect of entering into a relegation head-to-head with his former Havant & Waterlooville team-mates – but he believes both will come out winners in the end.
The 23-year-old striker bade farewell to the relegation-threatened Hawks last weekend to kickstart his career with the league’s bottom club Dover Athletic.
It was a move which shocked the rest of their National League rivals but Pavey says that the decision to switch allegiance was not made on the spur of the moment.
“After I received an approach from Dover, I sat down with the manager [Havant boss Lee Bradbury], the former Millwall youngster told The NLP.
“I told him that I wanted to get back into full-time football and said he wouldn’t stand in my way if the deal was right for everyone.
“Dover have just gone full-time and that was a big attraction, plus the manager and his staff were a big part of it as well.
“I haven’t been a full-time footballer since I left Millwall [in 2017] and I’ve always said it was something I strived to get back into. It’s been my dream to get back into the Football League, I can’t stress that enough.
“[Manager] Andy Hessenthaler is a top manager, a top Football League manager, and it was a massive pull to link up full-time with Hess [coach] Darren Hare and [assistant manager] Nicky Southall. I feel all three can really improve me as a player and help me fulfil my dream.”
Despite only having spent six months at Havant, Pavey leaves Westleigh Park with nothing but fond memories having helped the club make the transition into the top-flight after haing clinching the National League South title last season.
Pavey arrived in May from Havant’s title rivals Dartford and netted four times in the league this year, leaving the Hawks hovering just above the drop zone.
“I really enjoyed my time at Havant,” added Pavey, who also turned out on loan for Barnet, Aldershot, Bromley and Hampton from Millwall before briefly joining Welling United.
“They’ve got some good players there and a togetherness which comes from winning back-to-back promotions. I think they’ll have enough this season and I hope they do.
“It’s the same in a way with Dover. They are well established in this league and do not deserve to be where they are. They’ve just lost their way a bit this season and needed a change but already you can see Andy is starting to turn things around.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first week and already we’ve picked up two wins [against Hartlepool and Boreham Wood] and it’s reduced the gap at the bottom from seven points down to three.
“The boys are looking even sharper and it will take me some time to get back into training full-time and reach those kind of levels and make my mark here.”
Pavey has signed a new two-and-a-half year deal with the Whites and insists he’s at Crabble for the long-term.
“I’m not going anywhere with this management in charge of me,” added Pavey, who made his England C debut against Estonia.
“I’m not looking too far ahead in terms of ambition because this season is all about staying up.
“Hopefully we can achieve that and build on that going forward.”