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Dover Athletic assistant manager Nicky Southall looks ahead to National League match at Wealdstone

Assistant manager Nicky Southall hopes Dover can take confidence from their match against Wealdstone earlier in the season as the sides meet this Saturday for the reverse fixture.

The winless Whites lost 3-2 against Stuart Maynard’s team at Crabble in November, despite goals from loanees Harry Ransom and Henry Woods.

Dover assistant manager Nicky Southall. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dover assistant manager Nicky Southall. Picture: Barry Goodwin

But while the Stones had gone into that match unbeaten in four National League fixtures, they have lost the five matches they have played since.

They hadn’t played since December 18 before losing 1-0 at Boreham Wood last night and sit 19th in the table, six points clear of the relegation zone.

Southall said: “We played them here earlier in the season and I thought we were unlucky again. We lost by one goal and we were right in the game but mistakes cost us.

“They are in the position they are in and we are in our position.

"The good thing for us is we don’t have the major debt they all have from when they continued the season (behind-closed-doors last campaign).

“We got the points deduction and got the fine - but a lot of these teams in and around the bottom of this league are going to be walking away with £500,000 debt.

“The future, at the minute, doesn’t seem so bright for us. But in the bigger and wider picture, it is.

“The main thing is that we have got a football club here."

Boss Andy Hessenthaler had been due to miss last weekend’s match against Notts County with Covid - but that game was subject to a late postponement and the fixture has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 15. Hessenthaler will need to register a negative test before he returns.

“Dover and Wealdstone have been in and around the same leagues for a long, long time,” Southall said.

“The two clubs have played against each other a lot over the years, so they have got a lot of history. We go there with nothing to fear.

“We have just got to try and get this monkey off our back and get this first win.

“I think that’s what everybody is crying out for - the boys are crying out for it, the fans are crying out for it, as well as the staff and the chairman (Jim Parmenter) - everyone who is connected with the football club.”

There is a chance midfielder TJ Bramble (back) may return at fellow part-time club Wealdstone but winger James Caton (groin) has tested positive for Covid - meaning his injury has not yet been assessed.

Bottom side Whites have also extended on-loan Crawley defender Ransom’s stay until the end of the season.

“We love Harry to death,” Southall enthused.

“We had him last season on loan - he scored the winning goal against Notts County last season in the 89th minute.

“We have got a lot of injuries in the centre-back position with Reda (Johnson, player-coach) and young Will Moses, who hasn’t featured recently.

“We have got young Alex Green, who is going to have a bright future with us as a left-sided player. He is still injured but is on his way back.

“With a weeks’ training this week, he might be up for selection on Saturday.”

But full-back Junior Tiensia has returned to parent club Millwall, while talks between Dover and Gillingham over a potential extension to midfielder Woods’ loan are ongoing.

On Tiensia, Southall, who said the club are looking to recruit a left-sided defender, explained: “His loan was up and he probably thought, looking at our situation, can he go back and maybe look at getting a club higher up in this league?

“He is out-of-contract at Millwall, so you can’t blame him in many ways. But ultimately, he would have been playing week-in, week-out at this level (for Dover) and (had an opportunity) to prove himself in a difficult situation.

“For me, I would have stayed and given everything for the cause to try and win a game of football for this club, and try to get us away from minus points.

“If you are playing well in a team where we are now, it should stand you in good stead for getting a new contract or going to another club.”

Defender Jake Goodman will serve a one-match ban at Wealdstone.

Meanwhile, Academy midfielders George Wilkinson and Luke Baptiste have signed their first professional contracts with the club.

Dover have been drawn away to holders Dartford in round two of this season's Kent Senior Cup.

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