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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler estimates as many as 15 new signings could be required before the start of next season


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Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler estimates as many as 15 new signings could be needed before the start of next season.

Whites are now preparing for life in National League South for the first time in nine campaigns.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Plenty of Dover academy players have been given first-team opportunities this term but Hessenthaler doesn’t expect many senior players from his squad to still be at Crabble by the beginning of the 2022/23 campaign.

“You would like to think there’ll be two or three - maybe more [who stay] - but that’s a job for myself now to sit down and go through and make a retained list,” Hessenthaler said.

“Obviously we’ve taken a few younger boys who are going to be here next year. We’ve got to go and bring in another 15 players, I would have thought.

“It’ll be down to myself and the staff to make sure we get the right players in. We’re not going to rush into it.

“But it comes around very quickly. It looks like pre-season training might start on June 27 which isn’t far away, is it? Then there will probably be an August 6 start for next season, maybe. So lots of work to do.

“I’ll be meeting the chairman [Jim Parmenter] this week, going through things and we’ll go from there.”

Dover lost 2-1 on Sunday at home to Weymouth, who have also been relegated, as Whites finished the season on one point, having started on minus 12.

But Hessenthaler is urging his troops not to let their struggles affect them long term.

He explained: “It’s been a tough year for everybody, I just said that to everyone in the bar [as he gave an end-of-season speech in the clubhouse].

“To only see your team win twice all season has got to be tough for everybody - it is for us and it is for the players. But what I did say to the players afterwards is - as an individual footballer - you can’t let this season affect you going forward.

On-loan striker Michael Gyasi is expected to return to his parent club. Picture: Barry Goodwin
On-loan striker Michael Gyasi is expected to return to his parent club. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“If they do, then they’ll have a problem. Even the top, top players and managers, they’ll have highs and they’ll have lows. Unfortunately this has been a low for us.

“The club has had some really good highs over the years.

“We’ve got to put this one to bed and rebuild, and come back again next season stronger.”

Hessenthaler also insists there were parts of an extremely difficult season he had enjoyed.

He said: “It’s been a really tough one and one I’ll never forget. We’ve all had highs and lows.

“This has been a low for everybody involved, but there have been parts of it I have really enjoyed - seeing the young ones impressing. They’re a really good bunch of players but, unfortunately, we were nowhere near good enough this season.

“Obviously the minus [points Dover started the season on] was hard for us. I think we would have had to get 55 points to stay up and that’s never been done in the history of the National League.”

Academy forward Jack Nelson scored in the season-ending defeat against Weymouth while on-loan King’s Lynn striker Michael Gyasi is expected to return to his parent club.

Dover have announced they will play League 2 Gillingham at Crabble on Saturday, July 9 (1pm).

The club have started their search for a new physio Following George Ashby’s decision to leave at the end of the season.

Email your CV and cover letter to chairman Jim Parmenter at jim.parmenter@doverathletic.com if interested in the role.

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