Published: 06:00, 07 November 2019
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler does not believe there are any favourites in Sunday’s televised FA Cup tie against Sol Campbell’s struggling Southend team.
The Shrimpers are one off the bottom of League 1 with just one win from 17 matches, 14 of which have been defeats.
They appointed former Spurs and England defender Campbell as their new manager last month, and his backroom team at Roots Hall includes former Manchester United and England striker Andy Cole and Icelandic defender Hermann Hreidarsson, whose playing career took in Charlton and Ipswich.
Many feel the strugglers – beaten 7-1 last month by Doncaster on a night Dover had them watched – are ripe for the taking but Hessenthaler countered:“I don’t see that, they are two divisions above us.
“Yes, there’s chance of an upset, that’s why the cameras are there, but they’re League 1 and we’re National League.
“We’ve got a chance, of course we have, but we need to have everyone at their max and hope that they are maybe a little bit off it.
“Looking at their league position it seems like they are finding it a bit difficult at the moment, but Sol will hope he can go in there and turn things around.
“It’s similar to the position we had before we came in here last season (when Dover were bottom with just seven points from 15 games) so he’ll be hoping they can get on a run.”
Hessenthaler, who watched Southend lose 4-1 at Portsmouth on Tuesday night, admitted he is ‘really excited’ about the first round tie and hopes the Crabble faithful turn out in numbers.
He said “The league is our bread and butter but I still think the FA Cup is the best cup competition around.
“I was lucky enough as a player to have some good runs. I had a few runs which didn’t go so well, but mainly I have good memories.
“It’s a competition that brings the crowds out and hopefully that will be the case on Sunday.
“The players are really looking forward to it and I’m just as excited.”
Hessenthaler had no less than seven players out injured for Saturday’s goalless National League draw at AFC Fylde and he does not expect the situation to improve greatly.
Ricky Modeste and Nassim L’Ghoul could play a part against Southend but defensive duo Kevin Lokko and Will De Havilland are almost certainly out due to their ankle injuries.
Joe Bedford, Bobby-Joe Taylor and Bilel Hinchiri are the other players with niggles.
Midfielder Jai Reason misses the tie through suspension after picking up his fifth booking at Fylde but new loan signing Ruel Sotiriou has been cleared to play by his parent club Leyton Orient.
The 19-year-old Cypriot forward was on the bench for the trip to Fylde but did not get on.
Hessenthaler explained: “I could not get him on because of the way the game was going.
“We looked so comfortable that I was loathe to change it, but he may well play on Sunday.
“As for Jai, he was devastated after Saturday. He’s been excellent for us recently. Let’s hope we can win on Sunday so that he gets the chance to play in the second round.”
Tickets for the Southend match are pay-on-the-gate and cash-only for home supporters.
Seating prices are adults £20, over-60s £17 and under-18s £11 while terrace entry is
£18 for adults, £15 for over-60s and £9 for under-18s.
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More by this authorMark Stokes