Published: 05:00, 04 May 2022
| Updated: 06:15, 04 May 2022
Manager Andy Hessenthaler says illness is sweeping through Dover’s camp.
A host of players have been affected of late as a tough National League season for the relegated Whites heads towards its conclusion.
Supporters’ player-of-the-season Jake Goodman was absent for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Altrincham and, even though the experienced defender returned for their loss at Notts County on Monday by the same scoreline, Will Moses is another player to have come down with it.
Hessenthaler also understands two of his players who played at Meadow Lane are the latest victims.
“We might be getting it from the school,” suggested Hessenthaler, with Dover’s Academy training and studying at the Abbey School in Faversham.
“We have so many young players and, apparently, it’s going around the school.
“Jake Goodman missed the weekend, he was back on Monday but was still suffering.
"I’ve now been told two of the lads who played on Monday have gone down with it.
“Harrison Byford, who was outstanding at right-back, and Luke Baptiste have got it. We are hoping they’ll be okay for the weekend.”
Dover were beaten by Notts County for the second time in six days, losing 1-0 on their travels after a 3-0 defeat at Crabble last Tuesday.
But boss Hessenthaler was proud of his team’s performance despite Ruben Rodrigues netting the only goal for promotion hopefuls County in front of a crowd of 6,523.
He said: “Under the circumstances, where we had a lot of problems going into the game and a lot of the boys have some sort of flu bug, it was a really good performance.
“Will Moses was missing with it and Myles Judd was suspended so we had to rely on the younger ones again.
“Unfortunately, we switched off and that one moment cost us. But in front of 6,500 fans, we were superb and could have got something from the game in the final 15 or 20 minutes.
"It’s happened a few times this season [where Whites have been clapped off by away fans] but a whole Notts County stand clapped us all off on Monday. Credit to the Notts County fans.
“I think that makes you realise people realise what we have been through this season. Credit to the players, especially the younger ones, but all of them, really.
"They put in a really good performance.”
A run of three matches in quick succession has also seen captain Ryan Hanson return to the starting line-up having undergone emergency surgery for a non-football-related condition in March.
Hessenthaler said: “Ryan was good on Monday. He came off at half-time against Altrincham, although that was just through fatigue with his groin.
“He then got through Monday which is excellent news for us and excellent news for him. He will be better for that.”
Dover have lost by a single goal 19 times in 34 league defeats.
Hessenthaler conceded: “Sometimes, we have not got the rub of the green. But it is what it is.
“We know where we are going to be next year. We know we will be in a league we can compete in and it will be nice to win football games again.”
Now with only two matches to play this term, the league basement boys visit 11th-placed Bromley this Saturday before ending their campaign at home to Weymouth.
“We’ve played Bromley a couple of times in the league and the FA Trophy,” Hessenthaler stated. “They were tight games, weren’t they?
“They have got good people there and an FA Trophy final to prepare for against Wrexham. But I think they will be disappointed they have not made the play-offs.
“We’ll know what to expect - a big, strong, side.
“But we go there confident we can make it difficult for them and, hopefully, get a result.”
Full-back Myles Judd could be available after suspension, provided he shakes off a minor knock, but Koby Arthur (knee) is unlikely to be fit.