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Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler says he will not quit despite winless start to National League season

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Andy Hessenthaler insists he will not walk away from his role as Dover Athletic manager.

His team's winless start to the season continued on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 by Barnet at Crabble.

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

That result leaves Whites bottom of the National League table, nine points from reaching zero points - having started the campaign on minus 12 - and a massive 17 points from safety.

There were mixed messages from Dover's fans as they lost their eighth game of the season, with some calling for Hessenthaler to be sacked but others supporting the 56-year-old.

Hessenthaler said he doesn't believe his injury-hit squad have been able to play their best team yet this term - and also revealed non-contract players Yannis Drais and Matt Bentley had played for free against Barnet.

They host Yate Town in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round on Saturday.

Hessenthaler said: "I wouldn’t walk away from anything. To be fair, I didn’t really hear what they were saying because I was, obviously, still embroiled in the game.

Travis Gregory returned from injury in Dover's 2-1 defeat to Barnet. Picture: Andy Jones
Travis Gregory returned from injury in Dover's 2-1 defeat to Barnet. Picture: Andy Jones

"But listen, like I said last week, we are doing as much as we can. We had nine out injured.

"We know what we have got in the dressing room but I don’t think we have ever been able to pick our strongest team. The chairman (Jim Parmenter) knows what we are dealing with.

"We have got two players playing for nothing today by the way. I’ll just put that out there. The lad, Yannis, and Matt. Fair play to them.

"That is what we are dealing with. We are hoping to get some players back from injury, and they might be back next weekend.

"Junior Tiensia, the left-back, from Millwall, we are hoping Seth Twumasi's knee isn’t too bad, and Ryan Hanson and Reda Johnson as well. If they are not back next week, hopefully, they will be back for the next league game (at Southend on October 26) because we don't play the week after next.

"I’ll be here for the Academy game on Monday night, (assistant) Nicky Southall will take training with Reda, and we will prepare on Thursday and pick a team that can try to get through to the first round of the FA Cup."

Mason Bloomfield had put Barnet in front before Daniel Powell doubled their advantage in the second half and, despite another goal for Whites top scorer Aaron Cosgrave, his fourth of the season, Whites were beaten once again.

Winger Travis Gregory returned from injury, as did Marshall Wratten who came off the bench in the second half.

"When you are not winning football matches, you struggle with confidence," Hessenthaler admitted. "But they had a go again, the boys.

"We were playing people out of position. Travis Gregory, at right-back, I thought he was terrific. He had a right go. Their front four are a handful by the way.

"Their right winger has clubs looking at him, and he nearly went into the Championship last year. So he’s a handful.

"I think their (Dover's players') confidence is going to be low. It has to be."

When asked how he can improve that, Hessenthaler replied: "By winning football matches.

"But you are not going to if you give silly goals away.

"When we got the goal, we should have, perhaps, gone on and got back into the game. But the belief is sort of out of them because of the situation we are in.

"It wasn't for a lack of trying. I'm just trying to keep their heads up."

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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