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Dover Athletic return to training at K Sports but without full use of facilities due to Covid

Dover are back training at their familiar K Sports base - but it’s not quite the same.

Covid restrictions mean the players can’t use the changing room facilities or have a shower after training.

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler.
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler.

“We’ve been able to get back into K Sports,” said Hessenthaler. “But it’s not all the old facilities.

“You turn up and train, and you go home. You can’t have a shower afterwards. It’s not our own ground and that’s the rules.

“It doesn’t help as we don’t get changed there so the players are not together in that sense, even (socially distanced) in a changing room, so there’s not the usual camaraderie you’d get.

“The boys have to come in their training gear and even if the weather isn’t good they have to leave in it.

“It’s not ideal but that’s the rules at the moment.”

Dover had started pre-season training at Crabble but that quickly took its toll on the normally excellent playing surface.

It wasn’t going to be sustainable in the long term and chairman Jim Parmenter was able to relocate Hessenthaler’s squad back to their former training venue.

“The pitch was ruined so there was no way we could have continued there,” said Hessenthaler.

“It’s got to recover. The break we’ve had will do it good as we haven’t played on it for a couple of weeks.

“We couldn’t have carried on using it. To be fair to the chairman, the pitch is normally very good and he’s only had one game called off in about six years.

“He has recognised that and it’s good that we’re back at K Sports on this basis.”

Dover organised a squad get-together before the second national lockdown in a bid to increase team spirit among a group of players who have not spent much time together.

Hessenthaler won’t be complaining, though, and he added: “We’ve got to get on with it. Hopefully things change and we can get the facilities back.

“A lot of teams have their own training ground and it’s in their bubble. But we’re using a site used by other people as well.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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