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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler on signing former Colchester defender Danny Collinge

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler is excited by the signing of former Colchester defender Danny Collinge.

The 23-year-old defender, who had spent most of pre-season with Whites, looked set for a move to National League rivals Dagenham before he put pen to paper at Crabble.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Alan Langley (43204229)
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Alan Langley (43204229)

Although he never made a first-team appearance at Colchester, Hessenthaler believes he has the qualities to prosper with Dover.

“I’m really excited because Danny is one who is different to what we’ve got,” said Hessenthaler.

“He is quicker than the other defenders we’ve got and he could also fill in at right-back if need be.

“He is comfortable on the ball so it’s a good signing for us.”

Collinge initially trained with Dover midway through last season but when chairman Jim Parmenter called time on their season, it also meant the defender’s brief stay ended.

He was recommended to the club by Liam Ridgewell, who worked with Hessenthaler as first-team coach last season.

“Dan came to light as a player last season and we had him train with us for a couple of days through Liam Ridgewell,” said the Dover boss.

“He didn’t know the lads but we liked what we saw and we’ve been down to the bare bones at centre-back in pre-season with Will Moses injured and Reda Johnson looking after a tight calf.

“We only had Jake Goodman so we always wanted to bring in another centre-back. I got Dan back in and he played against Folkestone, he’d trained with MK Dons and he wanted to go to Dagenham.

“After the Folkestone game, we made him an offer and I gave him a week to decide, he came back to me on Friday and accepted so we got the contract sorted and he signed it on Saturday before the Stevenage game.

“I’m over the moon to get him. Even though he’d spent the week at Dagenham he played very well for us on Saturday, and was our best performer on the day.

“He played 60 minutes for Dagenham but they’ve got a lot of centre-backs and I think they looked at him but didn’t see him playing on a regular basis which is what the boy needs.”

"Even though he’d spent the week at Dagenham he played very well for us on Saturday, and was our best performer on the day"

It means there is only one permanent place up for grabs in Hessenthaler’s 19-man squad.

The Dover boss knows the position he wants to strengthen but is keeping an open mind as to which player he’ll make an offer to.

“We feel we’ve got good experience at the back in Reda and Jake Goodman, and good experience up top, so it’s the midfield area with Ryan Hanson, TJ Bramble and Henry Woods where we are quite young.

“We might need that general type with experience in there to finish the squad, I haven’t got anyone in mind yet but we’re looking to do that in the next week or so.

“We’ve got a couple of midfield players on trial and they will be involved in Tuesday’s friendly against Whitstable, and the double header next weekend.”

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