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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler expects Wealdstone to arrive at Crabble in confident mood for National League match


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Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler thinks tonight’s opponents Wealdstone will arrive at Crabble in confident mood.

The Stones are unbeaten in four league fixtures and they held ambitious Wrexham to a goalless draw in Wales on Saturday.

Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones

But the Whites, who lost 3-1 to FC Halifax Town last time out, remain bottom of the National League table as they chase an elusive first victory of the season and are some 20 points from safety.

Dover came from behind against Halifax to level through Ben Williamson after a Danny Collinge long throw, only for the visitors to strike twice in the final 10 minutes, seven days after they were beaten by a late Armani Little strike at Torquay during a 2-1 loss.

Hessenthaler thinks Wealdstone have a little bit of confidence his side are lacking at the moment, saying: “I think they do an extra day but they are part-time, aren’t they?

“But they have got a bit of confidence because they have won games. They have got a bit of momentum and got another good result on Saturday.

“Any team that has got that, they are going to win football matches.

Ex-Dover man Ira Jackson Jr, who earned a move to Grimsby after a prolific spell at Folkestone, is now on tonight's opponents Wealdstone's books. Picture: Andy Jones
Ex-Dover man Ira Jackson Jr, who earned a move to Grimsby after a prolific spell at Folkestone, is now on tonight's opponents Wealdstone's books. Picture: Andy Jones

“Unfortunately we haven’t got any of that confidence.

“Again for 75 minutes, we were right in the game (against Halifax) - like we were against Torquay. We should have got something at Torquay and lost the game in the 90th minute.

“It’s really frustrating for us (the club's staff) and frustrating for the players.

“It’s not a lack of effort - it’s switching off, it’s inexperience, and decision-making. But not a lack of effort.

“That is why I feel sorry for them but that’s why you need men.

“You need men that are going to deal with the set-plays and, unfortunately, we didn’t have that.”

Wealdstone are eight points clear of the relegation zone in 17th.

When asked if Stuart Maynard’s side were showing being part-time and competing in the National League was possible, Hessenthaler replied: “Yeah but, listen, they have a long way to go.

“There’s still a lot of games to play this season. Three will go down.

“That extra day might help them, I’m sure. We’d like an extra day but we can’t.

“Just that extra day with a bit more understanding and perhaps fitness could help us. But with two nights, it’s another challenge.

“No game in this league is easy. What frustrates me is every manager in the last few weeks - even the manager on Saturday - said ‘You boys were good today’. Good today but we lost!

“That is tough for a manager to keep taking. Torquay last weekend, ‘you didn’t deserve that’ - even their fans saying ‘you didn’t deserve that’. Unfortunately we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“We have just got to go on to the next game.”

Former Dover player Ira Jackson Jr is on Wealdstone's book.

Jackson, who has played for many Kent clubs including Sittingbourne, Ashford and Margate, signed for Grimsby Town in the summer of 2020 after a prolific season at Folkestone as he achieved his dream of playing in the Football League.

But Grimsby were relegated from League 2 at the end of their 2020/21 season and, this September, Jackson moved on to Wealdstone.

He was sent off in their match at King's Lynn on September 25, although his new team ended up winning the game 1-0 anyway despite his dismissal. Seven days earlier, he had scored his first league goal in a 2-2 home draw with Aldershot.

Wealdstone also have ex-Ebbsfleet frontman Josh Umerah among their attacking ranks, and he leads the way for them with six league goals this season.

Meanwhile defender Seth Twumasi (knee) and playmaker Koby Arthur (calf) remain injury doubts for Dover.

On Arthur, Hessenthaler said: “Koby is a dangerous one with his calf.

“You need to be careful with them but we will see.”

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