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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler admits Whites need to be much better in front of goal to reach National League play-offs

Andy Hessenthaler admits improving Dover’s goals-for column is crucial if Whites are to continue their push for the National League play-offs.

Dover’s tally of 34 goals from 27 matches is the fifth worst in the division with two of the four clubs to have scored less – Chorley and AFC Fylde – in the relegation zone.

Leaders Barrow have in contrast scored 57, and Dover boss Hessenthaler knows Whites need to become more ruthless –a point that was reinforced by their last outing, the 3-0 defeat at Bromley on New Year’s Day.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler Picture:Chris Davey
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler Picture:Chris Davey

Hessenthaler said: “For 44 minutes (until they fell behind to a penalty) it was one of our best performances. We were so dominant but we did not take our chances.

“When you look at our goals-for column it isn’t good enough.

“We’ve done okay defensively, apart from a couple of games, but we need to improve our goals-for, that’s going to be key for us if we are to get into the play-offs.

“The league is so open at the moment, there’s only really Barrow who have been consistent, but the play-off places are up for grabs.

“We’re still in a good position but we’ve got to start taking our chances.”

Hessenthaler says the coaching team have been working hard to try and instil more belief in the players in front of goal but he also conceded that he may need to bring in fresh faces.

He and chairman Jim Parmenter have been talking about their options with loan deals the club's most likely route.

Hessenthaler explained: “We are actively looking and have considered players as far afield as Scotland.

“To be fair to the chairman he wants to have a crack at bringing a couple in, we just need to look at the finances.

"We have been talking to a Premier League club and another in League 2 but it may be a case of do we need to get players out first?”

Dover did allow Italian striker Roberto Ratti to join Tonbridge last week – Hessenthaler watched him impress for the Angels during Saturday’s 3-2 win over Chippenham – and midfielder Bilel Hinchiri is available for a loan.

Whites host Hartlepool on Saturday, having slipped to 14th, one place behind their opponents after Pools beat Eastleigh 2-1 on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Lee Worgan is back in contention after recovering from concussion while top scorer Inih Effiong (sickness) and skipper Kevin Lokko (hip) should both be okay.

Defender Paul Rooney has a knee injury which ruled him out of Tuesday's Kent Senior Cup win at Faversham.

Whites won that game 4-2 with goals from Steven Rigg (2), Ade Yusuff and Nassim L'Ghoul.

Dover’s National League fixture at Halifax has been rearranged for Tuesday, January 28, while the trip to Barrow has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 18.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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