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Dover Athletic's Ryan Hanson says he is happy to play wherever he is needed after the midfielder played as a makeshift centre-back in their National League defeat at Wealdstone


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Ryan Hanson is happy to play wherever Dover need him to.

The midfielder was deployed as a makeshift centre-back during their 2-1 National League defeat at Wealdstone on Saturday, with defenders Jake Goodman and Danny Collinge unavailable.

Dover's Ryan Hanson. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dover's Ryan Hanson. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“Wherever I’m needed in the team, I’m happy to play,” said Hanson.

“I feel like I had a good game on Saturday but hopefully we will have a few more bodies back this weekend, so I might be back in midfield. We will have to wait and see.”

Whites had looked on course for a long-awaited first victory of a torrid season at half-time, with striker Alfie Pavey opening the scoring and keeper Adam Parkes making a first-half penalty save on his return to the side.

But a controversial decision to award the Stones a corner saw Connor Stevens subsequently head in an equaliser before Ashley Charles atoned for his penalty miss with the third goal of the game.

Hanson reflected: “It was another incredibly frustrating one.

“We were hoping it was going to be our first win, especially after the penalty save. We looked in control until about 60-odd minutes, really.

“Everyone was then a bit hot-headed with the decision to give the corner that should not have been one, but we have still got to defend it better. Then, they scored again less than 10 minutes later.

“It’s frustrating because we easily could have walked away with six points from our matches against Wealdstone this season but instead they have walked away with all six (with the Stones having won 3-2 at Crabble in November).”

Boss Andy Hessenthaler, back in the dugout following a positive Covid test, handed a first start to Academy midfielder George Wilkinson.

Wilkinson is someone 21-year-old Hanson, playing for his hometown club, knows well.

He explained: “I went to school with George.

"He is a few years younger than me but I have always known about his capabilities.

“It’s good to see people coming through at the club. He had a good game on Saturday.

“He was very tenacious and should be proud of himself for the way he played.”

Bottom side Dover are at 10th-placed Solihull Moors this Saturday and, should Hanson return to playing in his more natural position in midfield, he may link-up once again with Henry Woods - with Gillingham extending his loan stay at Crabble until the end of the season last week.

Defender Goodman will be available after serving his ban, as Whites aim to end their seven-match losing run in all competitions.

Hanson admitted: “I enjoy playing with Henry.

"I played at centre-back on Saturday, just with the personnel we had out with Jake Goodman suspended and Danny Collinge injured.

“But the partnership (in midfield) with Henry has been good. It’s quite a few games I have played with him now.

“It’s good he is staying until the end of the season and, hopefully, TJ Bramble (back injury) will be back soon.”

Whites played out a goalless draw with Solihull at Crabble in September, one of only four points they have claimed so far this term, but the Midlands club head into the match after beating Southport 3-0 in the FA Trophy last weekend.

Hanson added: “It’s another difficult one against Solihull, they are all difficult in this league. But it should be a good challenge.”

Right-back Myles Judd also made his Dover debut in their defeat at Wealdstone, having signed on a non-contract basis.

Three Dover youngsters were involved as Kent FA’s under-18s representative side returned to action for the first time in nearly two years on Sunday with a 5-2 win in Essex.

Jamie Finlayson and Jack Nelson both netted during the match at Aveley, while Thomas Wills was also in the Kent squad.

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