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DOVER boss Martin Hayes acknowledged the thorough professionalism of opposite number Lee Clark.

Despite conceding both goals within the opening eight minutes, Dover battled back to thwart Town and salvage a performance to be proud of.

Town boss Clark repeatedly ran the rule over the Blue Square South promotion hopefuls, homing in on 29-goal striker Adam Birchall.

Hayes said: "Huddersfield have watched us four times and paid particular attention to Adam as he’s our main striker.

"I told Adam that Huddersfield wouldn’t make it easy for him and they didn’t. He is quite frustrated because he was desperate to score."

Former Arsenal winger Hayes, who turned down a £25,000 move to Town under Mick Buxton in 1986, added: "Fair play to Lee.

"He didn’t want a big banana skin and he did his homework."

Birchall, 26, who started his career as a young player at Arsenal but then drifted into non-league after spells at Mansfield and Barnet, is set to be a hot property in the January transfer window.

Dover’s chairman Jim Parmenter has reportedly slapped a £1m fee on his head and Hayes said: "There have been no inquiries for him, although that is always a possibility.

"A move might be good for Adam and good for the club but he is in no rush to go anywhere."

Despite having only one real chance in the game – a late volley saved by Alex Smithies – Birchall impressed Clark who said: "He is a very talented player. He has slipped out of the league but he has re-invented himself. I imagine someone will take him."

Dover’s FA Cup exploits were ended by two quick-fire goals and Hayes said: "It was not the best of starts and everything we had spoken about went right out of the window. We showed a little bit of naivety after conceding one to concede a second straightaway, and that meant Huddersfield relaxed. They showed their quality and that’s the difference."

Hayes praised his predominantly young side for not being steamrollered after going 2-0 down so early and added: "Two-nil is a horrible scoreline and if we had got one back anything could have happened.

"But we steadied the ship and threw everything at them and by the end I was disappointed that we hadn’t managed to score.

"We scared them in the last 10 minutes and the lads did well and I think we gave the fans something to cheer.

"We have had a great run and maybe we have just used up all our luck.

"The run had to come to an end and the players and fans can be proud of what we have achieved."

What did you think of Saturday's performance? Do you think a good cup run will help or hinder Huddersfield Town's promotion challenge?

Plus the transfer window is open so who do you think Town need to recruit to try and ensure a top two finish?

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