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Folkestone Invicta forward Ira Jackson set to play for Dover in pre-season friendly

Ira Jackson is in line to feature for Dover when they face Beckenham in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday night.

The Folkestone Invicta forward is a product of the Dover academy and made four National League appearances for the club during the 2016/17 season.

He will now get the opportunity to impress Whites boss Andy Hessenthaler, with his future at the Fullicks Stadium still seemingly unclear.

Folkestone's Ira Jackson up against Dover in Saturday's pre-season friendly. Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone's Ira Jackson up against Dover in Saturday's pre-season friendly. Picture: Paul Amos

Hessenthaler said: "He (Jackson) just asked if he could come in as he wanted full-time training. He looked bright for Folkestone (against Dover on Saturday) and we'll probably give him a run out against Beckenham."

Starting spots are evidently for the taking as Dover continue their preparations for the new National League season.

The arrival of nine summer signings along with trialists has granted Hessenthaler and his coaching team the opportunity to experiment with varying first and second half teams in their opening two pre-season outings.

Whites are scheduled to play seven more games, including Tuesday's trip to Beckenham, as they gear up for their league opener away to Chesterfield on Saturday, August 3.

Hessenthaler said: "We've got partnerships, we tried Alfie Pavey and Riggy (Steven Rigg) up top against Folkestone on Saturday and we'll probably try Inih (Effiong) and Riggy on Tuesday night against Beckenham.

"It's good that we've got them options, it's competition for places, that's what pre-season is for.

"They're all under pressure. We've got good competition for places throughout the team really, only maybe apart from the full-back areas.

"We'll need everybody this season, there will be disappointment on August 3 on the first game of the season when players don't start but that always happens, it's up to them to go and win their place.

"We know how quickly a starting eleven can change throughout the season anyway.

"They (the new signings) have all done good, they're a good bunch of lads, the group we kept anyway have been good so they've all been settling in well."

Folkestone's Scott Heard pursues Dover's Jack Munns. Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone's Scott Heard pursues Dover's Jack Munns. Picture: Paul Amos

With regards to the trialists, he added: "It's hard when you're on trial. Sometimes you try too hard, it's good to get these players involved, they're doing okay and at some point we are going to have to make a decision."

The left-hand side also promises to be an area of intrigue as Dover seek to deal with the departure of winger Anthony Jeffrey.

Nassim L'Ghoul has emerged as an option following his move from Welling, as has academy product Marshall Wratten after he signed his first professional contract at the club.

"It could be anybody," Hessenthaler admitted. "We've got a lot of players that can play on the left. Obviously we've got Marshall and Nassim, Jack Munns can play on the left as well, it all depends on pre-season and how players are doing in training and in games."

After facing Beckenham, Hessenthaler's men are scheduled to meet K Sports on Saturday, July 13.

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