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Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler admits there are uncertain times ahead at the National League club but he and his staff have no plans to leave

Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler has no plans to leave the club and has a number of players still on contract too.

Rumours surfaced this week that he and his staff were leaving Crabble but insists that’s not the case.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler with assistant Nicky Southall Picture: Alan Langley
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler with assistant Nicky Southall Picture: Alan Langley

He said: “I have got a contract and I am staying, the same as my staff and the players under contract.”

Hessenthaler and his management team, along with 12-13 players, are under contract for another season, whenever that might be.

He’s determined to stay on and build with what he’s got but admits there are plenty of questions that can’t yet be answered. Among them are whether the club will have to revert to being part-time.

Speaking on Tuesday, he said: “I have had a couple of calls, as have my staff, that all the staff and players are leaving and I don’t know where that has come from.

“I am under contract for next year, along with all of my staff, and we have players under contract.

“The direction of the club? We can’t answer that because until we sit down with the chairman, once we conclude the season, once we know whether there is relegation or promotion, whatever, then we can sit down.

“He will say to me, ‘this is the budget’, and whether we have to go part-time or go full-time, and until we have that conversation I don’t know the direction of the club but all I would say is that I am not going anywhere.

“There is a challenge to be had. If we go part-time then there is a challenge there. I came into the club when it was part-time, we changed it to full-time. I have done part-time before and we have to work with what we have got.”

Dover in action against Chesterfield in their final game before the season was suspended Picture: Alan Langley
Dover in action against Chesterfield in their final game before the season was suspended Picture: Alan Langley

Clubs in the National League are still waiting on a decision by the league about how the table will be finalised. That, however, may have to wait until the EFL make their decision.

Dover had eight games left of their season before it was halted and Hessenthaler felt confident they could have made the end of season play-offs. The chance to make them is now not possible.

“You never know, we could have sneaked in there,” said the manager.

“We had lost a bit of form but we believed in the group and still believed we could have done it.”

Dover, meanwhile, announced their end of season award winners this week, with the supporters’ player-of-the-year being awarded to captain Kevin Lokko.

He’s one of the players out of contract now but Hessenthaler would love to keep him.

The manager said: “Kev has been a proper captain and led by example. He has had a very good season.

“I made Kev captain at the start of the season, after coming in the season before when Mitch Brundle was the captain. He left for Dagenham and Kev’s performances from the season before, when we first came in, were excellent, very consistent.

“The problem we have now is whether we can keep him. We would like to but nobody knows the situation in terms of what is going to go on next year and hopefully we will know a bit more in the next few weeks, but Kev is one we would love to keep.

“He has continued to produce and has been excellent, along with a few others.

Captain Kevin Lokko celebrates a goal for Dover Athletic against Aldershot in the National League Picture: Alan Langley
Captain Kevin Lokko celebrates a goal for Dover Athletic against Aldershot in the National League Picture: Alan Langley

“I think Michael Woods has had a real consistent season, started off a bit slow, but his quality came through and he got stronger. I thought Josh Passley was consistent at right-back as well.”

Passley was named players’ player-of-the-season after receiving the most nominations from his team-mates.

Inih Effiong was the Golden Boot winner after scoring 16 in 38 games.

Hessenthaler said: “I think he would have got to that 20 mark if the season would have been able to finish. He was excellent and his goals got us in and around those play-offs.

“We have a good nucleus of a squad but again we don’t really know where the football club is going.

“The chairman has said it is not looking good at the moment but we have to see what it looks like in the next few weeks. The finances are going to be difficult, these players who are under contract might not want to play part-time, if that’s what we have to do.

“We won’t be the only club with problems and a lot of clubs will have to cut their cloth accordingly. Some might have to do it worse than others but we are in a position where we have players under contract, whether they will stay or go, again, we can’t answer, but that is for another day in a few weeks once we get a little clarity on what’s going on.”

Ricky Modeste was runner-up to Lokko for the supporters’ award. The Dover Athletic Supporters’ Club will also give a £250 cheque to the winner’s chosen charity.

Other awards went to goalkeeper Lee Worgan, who picked up the DAFC away supporters’ player-of-the-season award and the goal-of-the-season, which was won by Bobby-Joe Taylor after scoring a stunning free-kick against Notts County at Crabble.

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