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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler hopes experience from time at Gillingham will help turn club's fortunes around after winless run


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Boss Andy Hessenthaler is hoping his experience from his time in charge of Gillingham will help to turn struggling Dover's fortunes around.

Whites are bottom of the National League, some 17 points from safety, and are yet to record their first victory this season.

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

Things got worse for Dover on Tuesday, too, as they lost their FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay 1-0 at lower-league Yate Town. Substitute James Harding scored the only goal of the game.

Hessenthaler was in charge of Gillingham during their 2010/11 season when they got off to a slow start - not winning any of their first seven games in all competitions and claiming only three league wins by mid-November - before things rapidly improved.

They eventually finished that campaign just outside the League 2 play-off places.

Speaking on Monday, the Dover manager admitted: “It’s nice to get a few back from injuries.

“We are not a million miles away from winning football games. But the longer it (the winless run) goes on, the harder it gets.

“There have been games we have been really close to picking up more points from.

“But if we keep believing, things will change. I’m a big believer in that.

“I have been in a similar situation before with Gillingham in League 2. In the end, we just missed out on the play-offs.”

Dover host Stockport at Crabble this Saturday.

Whites were without a fixture last Saturday and have started to welcome back some of their injured troops, although youngster Harrison Byfoot is set for a spell on the sidelines after breaking his foot.

Stockport have just signed Bolton captain Antoni Sarcevic, the midfielder made his debut in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Notts County.

But they are without a manager after they parted company with manager Simon Rusk on Wednesday, following their 2-1 loss to Barnet on Tuesday night. First-team coach Dave Conlon has been placed in caretaker charge.

Hessenthaler said: “They (Dover’s players) know it’s a big week.

"But I’ve looked at our fixtures and, in the next seven games, we play five ex-league clubs.

“Stockport were one of the teams tipped to finish near the top.

“You just need to read their release about signing the Bolton captain, Sarcevic, to see how strong they are but we know what we have got to do.”

Dover will have defender Reda Johnson available after suspension but midfielder TJ Bramble will be banned for the Stockport game after collecting five yellow cards this season.

Whites’ trip to Southend will now be played this Tuesday, having been postponed due to the FA Cup replay at Yate Town.

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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