It was always meant to be. Nominative determinism at its absolute finest, the aptly named Luke Glover has already impressed between the posts as we fly into the midst of November without tasting defeat in 90 minutes. A part of the league’s best defence, the ‘keeper who joined in the recent Summer has conceded just the six goals in our opening 12 league matches, claiming a division high eight clean sheets in the process. But anyway, enough from us. Let’s hear what Luke has to say:
So Luke, obviously a promising start to the season for yourself. How have you found things?
“Yeah, it’s been good! We’ve had a good start in terms of results but I think that comes from the togetherness within the group. A lot of people knew each other prior to coming here, even going back to the beginning of the season where you saw so many new faces, I recognised one or two obviously, even the Gaffer [Shaun Saunders] from when we were at [Haywards] Heath so it sort of put my mind at ease knowing that I’d be going into a good group and it’s just sort of kicked on from there.”
“Obviously we had a poor start with the FA Cup but, since then, being unbeaten for 90 minutes it’s testament to us as a group but also to the ability that we have. But it’s also the togetherness we have to keep fighting, even on Saturday just gone where we went 1-0 down, to come back to 1-1 I think says a lot about us as a group.”
Did Shaun Saunders play a crucial role in you deciding to join the Hawks?
“Yeah, definitely! When I saw him towards the back end of last season when I was on loan at East Grinstead just coming back from injury with Eastbourne Borough, I saw him down there and I thought ‘I wonder what they’ll be like next year’ and for me I just wanted to play so to have a gaffer who has that trust in me as he did at Heath then to have that here at Whitehawk…that’s an influence in coming here, for sure.”
You’ve achieved what every goalkeeper dreams about, scoring in what turned out to be the winning goal. How great a day was that?
“Yeah, it was! I think if any of you have seen the video of the goal, prior to that I made quite a bad mistake which led them to the equaliser at 1-1. It was just a fluke really; I’ve kicked it long, their ‘keeper misjudged the bounce, off the post and in and you can see by my reaction that the thought of it going in and making up for my mistake.”
“I got a lot of messages afterwards to say the character I showed to come over that mistake and actually end up winning it myself I think was the biggest thing to take from that. Obviously scoring was good, but it’s how you react to mistakes that makes a player a better player than someone who doesn’t so yeah, it was good to get on the scoresheet for sure!”
We’re boasting the best defence in the league currently, how much confidence does that give you as a goalkeeper?
“What you say about the defence, yes, they are solid. It’s a great line in front, builds a lot of confidence when you’ve got a backline like that and they rely on me. On the odd occasions where they get through, you’ve got to stay concentrated. I think against Burgess Hill when it was 0-0 and they had the header right towards the end of the game, made the save but it’s just about keeping that concentration even though you’re not getting a lot of the ball with your hands, it’s with the ball at your feet continuously talking with them, commanding the backline and making them aware that you’ve got to stay up with play, don’t sit too deep.”
“Concentration is a massive factor. I think especially when you’re with a team so strong defensively and not much gets through, when it does get through you’ve got to make sure it doesn’t go past you because if it does, eight or nine times out of ten it’s a goal. So yeah, concentration is a massive factor, especially with the team we’ve got.“
That’s eight clean sheets on the league season, nine in all competitions…how big a boost is that when you step out onto the pitch?
“Massively! I’ve never really been one for clean sheets to be honest. I’d rather the team win just from a non-selfish point of view. This season I got up to five [clean sheets] quite early on and it feels like yeah, we want to keep this going! It’s one of those things where you try not to talk about it and they just come along and the numbers creep up. But yeah, it’s definitely something we’ve been focusing on as a group and as a backline just to keep them out as much as possible.
If you keep a clean sheet, you get points on the board. With the boys we’ve got up top we’re bound to score goals so if we keep clean sheets I think we’ll get three points…it’s a big factor this year for us to consider.”
“We’re very good at home, so that’s really good but we just need to tighten up away, see if we can get a few more goals and just kick on from there. If we stay unbeaten we’ll be right in amongst it, hopefully get into the playoffs or move straight into promotion so that’s the target.”
Positivity. That’s the underlying message here. And who can blame him? Another clean sheet on Tuesday kept this defence recognised as the league’s most prolific. For forwards who steal all the glory, all the plaudits; be sure to swivel your head to our man in pink, standing in goal with the weight of the match on his shoulders, and realise that this is a team that starts with the him. The first name on the team sheet…and how richly fitting that is.