Published: 06:00, 13 November 2020
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler admits he has questioned his training programme after a string of early-season injuries.
Whites’ National League campaign has been disrupted by injuries and Hessenthaler has not been able to name a settled side.
He’s confident that Dover will start climbing the table once the missing faces return but he can’t put his finger on anything they’ve been doing wrong.
“You’re always questioning it, like anyone would, and looking at whether we are doing too much or too little,” said Hessenthaler.
“Sometimes when the games come Saturday-Tuesday then you don’t tend to do a lot of training as it is as much about recovery.
“But sometimes you look at it and it’s just one of those things. It’s hard to put your finger on one thing.”
Defender Will De Havilland should return at Wealdstone this Saturday but Oscar Gobern (calf) and Travis Gregory (hamstring) remain sidelined.
Millwall defender Harry Ransom was injured less than half an hour into his second game on loan at Dover - away to Bromley last month - but he’s still a few weeks away from returning to action.
“It was a blow to lose Harry because we knew how important he would be for us,” said Hessenthaler.
“We’re missing his presence and organisation, which were the things that we spotted when he was playing in non-league at Eastbourne before.
“We’ve missed him and hopefully he won’t be far away.
“It’s a blow with Oscar being out as well because he’s been stop-start for us. When he plays he has been good and we need that experience in the team.”
“We’ve not been settled since day one.”
Dover are seven games into the campaign and Hessenthaler firmly believes they are good enough to compete at this level.
Now he needs his players to show that same belief - and translate it into performances and, ultimately, points.
“We talked about it at training on Monday,” said Hessenthaler. “I really believe in this group of players.
“We’re one of the youngest squads in the division and we know that. But I believe that we’re good enough and we need to get the best out of the boys.
“They will make mistakes but they have to learn from them and we’ll improve once we get a settled team.
“We’ve seen a lot of positive signs and since the Aldershot debacle we’ve improved.
“Against Altrincham in our last match if we’d taken the chances that we created then it would have been a different game.
“We’ve got to make sure that the players believe as well.
“When you are not getting results then confidence can be low. They were gutted after Altrincham as we created enough chances to win the game.
“I’ve told them to keep believing and working hard on the training ground but ultimately once you cross the white line then you’ve got to perform for 94 or 95 minutes.”
Dover visit Wealdstone at the weekend with Hessenthaler keen to register their first away points of the campaign after defeats at Bromley, Stockport and Torquay.
Wealdstone won 1-0 at nine-man FC Halifax on Tuesday night and sit second in the table after five straight league victories.
“Wealdstone have been excellent so far,” said Hessenthaler. “They’ve kept that momentum going from promotion last season.
“They’ve got some good, experienced non-league players which is what you need along with some younger ones.
“It’s going to be another tough game for us but we’ve got to make sure we go there and come away with something.”