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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler looks ahead to National League trip to Hartlepool

By Cameron Hogwood

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler insists it doesn’t matter how his side pick up wins at this stage in the season.

Whites won at Crabble for the first time since Boxing Day on Saturday as they beat the National League’s bottom club Braintree 3-0.

In doing so, they moved onto 39 points and four clear of 21st placed Havant & Waterlooville following their 2-1 defeat to Leyton Orient.

Dover Athletic Andy Hessenthaler Picture: Alan Langley.
Dover Athletic Andy Hessenthaler Picture: Alan Langley.

Dover travel to face Hartlepool this Saturday in view of taking another meaningful stride towards the elusive 50-point marker.

“I think everybody goes with the 50, we’ll look at four more wins because that would give us 51,” said Hessenthaler.

“We’ve got some massive games at home coming up, after Hartlepool we’ve got Boreham Wood on Tuesday and then Halifax on the Saturday.

“We’ll look forward to the challenge, but we’ve got to be able to deal with that challenge. I felt we looked a bit nervous.”

While Hartlepool will move into full lens, Whites’ attention will be predominantly on themselves in the build-up, admitted Hessenthaler.

“We do work on the opposition, we’ll work on that during the week,” he said. “We know how they play, we’ll analyse all the videos on Hartlepool and then we’ll pick a team accordingly.

“We’ll focus on them but mainly it’s on ourselves.

“It’s that stage of the season now where it doesn’t matter how you win.”

It remains to be seen whether Hessenthaler will keep his faith in stopper Lee Worgan after favouring him over Mitch Walker, who had previously made 91 consecutive starts for the club. Worgan saved Korrey Henry’s penalty last weekend.

Another high-profile change saw Ifih Effiong out of the team after a nine-game stretch without a goal in the league.

One man that looks certain to retain his spot is Jai Reason, after he announced his return with a goal having missed the defeat to Maidenhead to witness the birth of his son Kiyan.

Hessenthaler feels Reason will be a key figure for his team in their fight for survival over the final stages of the campaign.

He said: “Jai Reason showed again that he’s got that little bit of class and game intelligence in a game when it’s scrappy.

“We missed him last week. I’m a family guy and would never stop him from being at the birth of his child, but it was a hindrance because he’s a big part of us going forward.”

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