*BS*ANDY HESSENTHALER is expected to make several changes this weekend at Maldon in the FA Trophy.*BF*
Three or four players may make the step up from the subs’ bench, as some are rested following two matches in less than 72 hours last weekend.
Jon Wallis and Hessenthaler are doubts, after picking up injuries against Chatham, and it might be a wise idea to rest both anyway ahead of two important league fixtures at the end of October.
Whites have over a week away from league action to take stock following the 1-0 loss to Chatham on Monday night and with the net failing to bulge on a regular basis in recent weeks, Hess is looking around for a new striker who can make his presence felt on Ryman South defences.
Whites undoubtedly have the right ingredients across the defence and midfield to be strong contenders for the title this season. It might be that a tap-in merchant is the only missing link.
That was certainly the case last Monday against Chatham, when four or five excellent chances, plus several other decent ones, came and went on a frustrating evening in front of goal. Frannie Collin and Lee Browning were once again superb in their build-up play but lacked the killer finish in the penalty area.
Luck certainly played its part, as Chatham boss Phil Miles admitted afterwards, with Collin and Browning both hitting the woodwork but both players are perhaps guilty of not gambling on a pass or cross when making runs in and around the penalty area and, more importantly, not taking the chance to shoot a little earlier. Browning in particular missed chances against Whyteleafe and Chatham due to waiting too long to shoot.
It is more than a little harsh to single out those two players though, as they have been in very good form for the side and provided some excellent pass-and-move football, creating chances for their team-mates in the process. However, it is the killer instinct that has been missing.
*Ppic1*Some people will feel that Jimmy Dryden should be given the opportunity to prove that he is the man to provide the goals. After starting the season well, Dryden has been reduced to substitute appearances recently and that has never really been his forte. A decent run in the side for him may provide Hessenthaler with the poacher he’s after. It is up to Dryden to grab the opportunity, if presented with it.
A tired-looking Mark Lovell would seem to need a rest, having not scored for five games after his brace against Eastbourne Town. Dryden may therefore get his chance at Maldon. With Wallis and/or Hessenthaler also potentially out, Liam Quinn may come into defence, pushing Craig Cloke into midfield again and Sam Gore may also be able to stake a claim for the left back spot.
Whoever makes Andy Hessenthaler’s side will face a Maldon outfit that has yet to be beaten in Ryman North this season, the club having won three and drawn five of their opening eight games.
There are several ex-Canvey Island players in their squad and also some very experienced heads, particularly right back Greg Oates (ex-Margate) and midfielder Ollie Berquez (ex-Woking), in a Maldon side that lies 10th in Ryman North.
Having conceded a mere nine times in Ryman North so far, Maldon will be another tough nut to crack for Dover. Tonbridge Angels were forced to a replay by the Essex club in the FA Cup last month and were lucky to get that having been 2-0 down with ten minutes to go.
Progression to the 2nd qualifying round is far from a formality. Character and the ability to grind out a victory are more than likely to be important – good preparation for the winter months of league action ahead!