*BS*ANDY HESSENTHALER says he is not panicking over finding a replacement for striker Jimmy Dryden.*BF*
Whites kick off their pre-season programme on Saturday with a trip to Kent League Faversham Town. And on Tuesday evening Folkestone Invicta – complete with Dryden – are at Crabble (7.45pm).
Some fans have aired concerns that Whites – despite boasting some impressive additions – have yet to replace Dryden.
But Whites’ manager Hess said: “People have to realise we’ve got Frannie Collin – who scored 20-plus goals last year and missed three months of the season through injury. He’s looking really sharp.
“We’ve got Shaun Welford, who never started with us last year – he’s also scored goals in the Premier League for Ramsgate.
“We’ve got Lee Browning, who was out injured – he’s not an out-and-out goalscorer, but he can play up front.”
The answer to fans’ goalscoring concerns could be training at the club already, in the shape of Nathan Bailey. The 22 year old spent last season in Welsh non-league football, but found opportunities limited. Hess said: “He looks bright in training and is very quick and strong. I’ve not seen enough yet to make up my mind on whether he’ll get a contract.
*Ppic1*”We’ve got to look at the budget – there isn’t that much left and we’ve signed four good players. We are looking to bring in another centre forward – though I do believe the likes of Collin, Welford and Browning will score goals anyway for us. But Nathan is looking very sharp in training and he could be the one.”
Hess is meanwhile running the rule over 19 year-old Jerahl Hughes, a pacy wide man who was at Yeovil last season – and played against Whites on loan for Worthing.
Sammy Moore’s brother Jason – a Conference player at Dover ten years ago – has been training with Dover, but after a long time out of the professional game has a lot of fitness to recover.
Hess is set to field two complete squads for 45 minutes apiece in the opening two friendlies. Faversham are turning into a Dover Old Boys outfit under former Whites midfielder Jimmy Strouts. Ex-Dover luminaries Matt Carruthers, Shane Hamshare, and newly-signed Lee Shearer are expected to feature at Salters lane.
Folkestone of course have shorn up their faltering squad with a raft of signings from Dover, after their relegation from the Ryman Premier last season. Lining up alongside Dryden will be former Crabble favourites Craig Wilkins and Matt Bourne – while Lee Spiller has been training with the Cheriton Road outfit.
Fellow midfielder Alan Pouton is back training with Dover but has yet to make a decision on his future. Craig Cloke is unable to train at present after an operation on a kidney and could miss the start of the season.
Leaving Crabble is Jack Tanner, who has gone to try his luck at Whitstable.
• Ryman League fixtures are officially released on Tuesday.