*BS*CUP SUCCESS has never come easy for Dover Athletic and they will have to do it the hard way if they are to enjoy some this season after being handed two tricky away ties in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.*BF*
First up for Whites will be local rivals Tonbridge Angels in the FA Cup 1st qualifying round on Saturday, September 13 at Longmead.
The match will renew the two clubs’ rivalry, which sparked in 2005, and fans of both clubs will look forward to what should be an enthralling match. All the more interesting due to the quality of the two managers in charge.
In the blue corner, Tommy Warrilow left Horsham last season to take Angels from relegation worriers to play-off hopefuls in the space of six months. Whilst in the white corner, Andy Hessenthaler enhanced his huge reputation by guiding a young Dover side to the Ryman South title.
The Dover boss is a keen admirer of Warrilow’s team and knows that his side will have to be at their best to progress.
He told kentishfootball.co.uk: “I don’t think the draw has been very kind to us, but that’s football.
“I know Tommy Warrilow well and he has a very good team and is a really nice fella who knows his football. It’s going to be a massive test for us.”
Dover fans will be more than familiar with several Tonbridge players, who had impressive seasons for the West Kent club last term. Tommy Tyne and Carl Rook have been key members of Warrilow’s 11, the latter scoring 18 goals in 22 games last season.
*Ppic1*Ex-White Simon Glover has also signed on at Longmead, a ground undergoing a set of improvements this season including increasing the seating capacity.
Meanwhile, the Dover boss will be keen to erase the memory of last year’s cup defeat at Hythe by overcoming another Kent club in a competition he loves.
That cause will be helped by the strengthening of Whites’ squad this summer, including defenders Olly Schulz and Dean Hill who have plenty of experience in winning local derbies. It is also bound to be the type of match new midfielder Sammy Moore will relish playing in.
Fans and players alike will be on the road again on Saturday, October 18 when Staines will welcome Whites for the FA Trophy 1st qualifying round. The ‘Staines Massive’ will hope to repeat their FA Trophy victory against Dover in 2005 when Steve Browne was in charge at Crabble.
The tie will be another to relish for both players and fans, as two of the favourites for the Ryman Premier title go toe-to-toe in a one-off match without the pressure of crucial points at stake.
Dover enjoyed a brief run in the FA Trophy last season before falling to Sutton away in a replay despite dominating much of the two games played.
A ball is yet to be kicked though and Whites have only just started their pre-season training. The first game is just a week away, however, when Hess’s men will travel to Faversham and fans will get their first chance to see the new signings and prospective talent on show.
A couple of pieces of the squad jigsaw are yet to be put in place and the pre-season schedule should shed some light on those in contention for a place in the managers plans.