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Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler praises attitude of captain Sam Wood

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Manager Andy Hessenthaler has praised the attitude of Dover Athletic captain Sam Wood.

Left-back Wood, 35, returned to the side for their National League loss to Bromley at Crabble having been dropped to the bench for their previous two matches.

Dover Athletic captain Sam Wood. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover Athletic captain Sam Wood. Picture: Andy Jones

Dover, trailing 1-0 on Saturday, thought they should have been awarded a penalty shortly after the hour mark when a strike from Wood was deflected for a corner. But referee Sunny Gill waved away the home appeals for handball and the hosts couldn’t find a leveller at Crabble.

But Hessenthaler was pleased with the display of Wood as the experienced former Bromley, Brentford and Wycombe man returned to the starting line-up as he replaced Millwall loanee Junior Tiensia, who has picked up a stomach muscle injury.

Tiensia could be out for up to three weeks and joins Travis Gregory, player-coach Reda Johnson, Marshall Wratten and Will Moses on the Dover treatment table.

Whites started the match against Bromley with a back three but they went a goal down with Corey Whitely netting early. Michael Cheek failed to convert a penalty for the visitors inside the first 15 minutes, before a first-half tactical substitution saw Dover change formation.

“Junior is injured. He picked up an injury on Thursday at training,” Hessenthaler said.

Koby Arthur came off the bench for Dover in last weekend's defeat to Bromley after recovering from a hamstring injury. Picture: Andy Jones
Koby Arthur came off the bench for Dover in last weekend's defeat to Bromley after recovering from a hamstring injury. Picture: Andy Jones

“So that is another injury for us unfortunately, which is just the way it’s going. Otherwise, he would have started.

“Woodsy came back in and Woodsy is better in a back four, really. He will tell you that.

“But he is 35 and he keeps going. His attitude is different class. He is a top lad and a top captain.

“I love him to pieces and Seth Twumasi, to be fair.

“We were better when we went to a back four in the end, we just didn’t start the game right. It was as simple as that, really.”

Next up for Hessenthaler’s bottom side are third-placed Grimsby this Saturday who, coincidentally, lost 3-1 at Bromley last night (Tuesday).

The Whites boss admitted a week to prepare for their next fixture for his part-time squad is sorely needed as he revealed positive news on the injury front for midfielder Ryan Hanson.

Koby Arthur also made a second-half appearance against Bromley after recovering from a hamstring injury.

He said: “We have got to prepare this week.

“We have got a few carrying knocks. TJ Bramble was carrying a knock last Tuesday (against Solihull Moors) and he hasn’t really recovered. He was everywhere, and he was carrying a knock to be fair to him. I thought he was outstanding.

“But we have got a week to recover.

“We have got Koby Arthur back. We didn’t want to risk him because he could still feel it a little bit with his hamstring but he will be back ready for this weekend.

“Ryan Hanson has had a scan, and there was good news for him. There is no ligament damage.

“He has got to have his knee drained because there is a lot of fluid there but we are hoping to have Ryan back, not for Grimsby - which will be another tough game against a really good side - but probably the week after Grimsby.”

Arthur and striker Aaron Cosgrave are Dover’s joint top-scorers with two goals apiece, although Whites are still yet to find the net at home this season, despite earning a creditable goalless draw against Solihull Moors earlier this month.

When asked how he plans to keep his head up, Hessenthaler replied: “The wife will do that for me.

"She will say to me ‘Keep plugging away, keep working, and things will turn.’ She has to - and the kids will as well.”

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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