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Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler looks ahead to his team's re-arranged FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at Yate Town


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Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler says the controversial postponement of their FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at Yate will provide extra motivation for his players - as they travel there again tonight.

Hessenthaler’s Whites were scheduled to play Yate at Lodge Park last Tuesday but, following floodlight failures, the match was called off with Dover already at the ground in Gloucestershire.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones

The referee called the match off at around 8.30pm with two of Yate’s floodlights not working - only for them to come back on minutes later, with the Southern League Premier Division South outfit accusing Dover of not wanting to play the tie following the initial delays last week.

When asked if he would use the comments made by Yate as extra motivation to give to his players, Hessenthaler said: “Yeah, why not?

“They are almost accusing us of not wanting to play the game. I had one of my strongest teams this year out last week, we had players coming back for that.

“We have got a game of football to play. There is a chance to get into the first round of the FA Cup where we will play Yeovil.

“We have prepared right, we trained on Saturday. We will go to Yate to try and get the result we need.”

Striker Ricky Miller will miss the replay through illness as Whites once again target their first win of the season. He had scored his side's goal in the 1-1 draw in the original tie.

Hessenthaler said: “He scored the goal, didn’t he?

“But he is going to be missing. He is not too well but it’s not Covid.”

Midfielders Ryan Hanson, Yannis Drais and Koby Arthur are all in contention to start.

Defender Harry Ransom has been given permission from parent club Crawley to be involved, too, but player-coach and fellow defender Reda Johnson will be banned after his sending off at Crabble.

Hessenthaler said he didn’t want to get into “a slanging match” with Yate over last week’s postponement but was not happy with the way the situation played out.

“It was just a shambles really," said Hessenthaler. "To be fair, we have done it exactly the right way in terms of preparation.

“There seemed to be no problems when we got there, although it was not a great night anyway with the weather.

"The lights were not coming on so we took the players off. Then we came back out later on and the ref said he had been in contact with the FA who had set an 8.30pm deadline.

“At 8.30pm, the lights weren’t back on so the ref called the game off and my players started getting changed and ready to go back on the bus.

“But five minutes later, he (the referee) said the lights were back on and did we want to play? I put it to the players and they said that they didn’t want to play.

“At the end of the day, there was a deadline set. When there is a transfer deadline, if a player hasn’t signed five minutes after that deadline for a club, then they don’t sign.

“But I’m not going to get into a slanging match. I know they have said a lot about it but we just had players back from injury - and most of them were in the shower!

“They were asking them to get changed again and play. There was no way we were going to do that.”

Yate come into the match after a 3-1 home win over Walton Casuals which came courtesy of goals from Dave Sims-Burgess, Olly Mehew and James Harding.

The replay will go to extra-time and penalties if it remains level after 90 minutes.

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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