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Dover Athletic to host Notts County in the National League at Crabble after the previous two scheduled matches were postponed


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Dover Athletic are ready to welcome Notts County once again and the weather’s looking good.

The first two attempts to play the fixture at Crabble were postponed, firstly in January and the again the following month, which led to statements from both teams criticising each other.

Andy Hessenthaler's young Dover side ready for Notts County Picture: Barry Goodwin
Andy Hessenthaler's young Dover side ready for Notts County Picture: Barry Goodwin

Tuesday night’s visit will be the first of two games in quick succession between the sides, with Whites playing the reverse fixture at the County Ground on Monday (May 2).

Notts County will arrive looking to strengthen their grip on a play-off spot and Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler is hoping his men can do all they can to make that difficult.

Hessenthaler said: “I am sure Dagenham (one place below the Magpies) will be watching the game because they are in and around the play-offs still, they will be hoping we can put a performance on.

“The one thing we haven’t done is score enough at home, we tend to perform better away from home and I said to the boys after the game on Saturday, we have another tough game Tuesday but we need to perform at home better than we have been and hopefully that will be the case.

“I understand we have lost some fans, they have gone because we have gone down and we haven’t been winning game, the atmosphere in the ground has been difficult but hopefully with Notts County coming to our place, the atmosphere will be a lot better and help us in our performance.”

Dover lost 3-2 at Chesterfield on Saturday but were leading 2-1 with just eight minutes left before the home side fought back. It’s a sign that Hessenthaler’s men may be down but they’re not out.

“It was disappointing (to lose) but the effort from the players was phenomenal,” said the Whites boss.

“It would have put a spanner in their works and I know their manager well, he said credit to our players for running us that close.

“We had six 18-year-olds in the 16 and that shows what we have got. One thing we are doing is that we are still respecting the league and having a go because we could have thrown the towel in a long time ago.”

With the acrimony from the winter postponements still fairly fresh, there could be some negativity from the away team, but Hessenthaler isn’t concerned if there is.

When asked about it, he responded by saying: “They had a lot to say for themselves (at the time) and I am not going to get into a war of words. At the end of the day they got called off and they have to come again now.

“There won’t be negativity from us, we just want to try and make it as difficult as we can for them on Tuesday and when we go to their place on Bank Holiday Monday.

“I am sure all of their fans, and staff have been looking at the forecast, but I think we will be alright.

“Yes, we might get a bit of stick, but bring it on! As a manager I thrive on that, if they want to do that, it’s fine, it is a David versus Goliath game anyway, the two clubs are a million miles apart in terms of stature. They should beat us both times but we hope that's not the case.”

County have previously made two trips to Dover, staying overnight, but are making the journey on the day this time, setting off on Tuesday morning.

The visitors look set to be without leading scorer Kyle Wootton and their head coach head coach Ian Burchnall knows they could be in for a tough night.

He said: “They are a young team and credit to Andy Hessenthaler, they have had to fight to get to zero (points), they have gone down but not given up and that is showing with their performances.

“They know they are going down but they aren’t giving up. They are a bit open but they aren’t making it easy for teams to play against them.”

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