*BS*ANDY HESSENTHALER insists that his young team is still very much “work in progress”.
*BF*John Keister this week praised his young team-mates who have taken Dover to the brink of the Ryman League Division One South title – and insisted: “They deserve all the credit.”
Player-boss Hess could not agree more and believes the team will only get better.
He said: “I agree with what John said – although he is being very modest about his own contribution because he’s been superb this season.
“We’ve got a good mix of young players with experienced heads such as myself, Alan Pouton and John Keister. The youngsters have done superbly well and they are going to improve.
“If we get promoted, we’re not going to rest on our laurels. I want us to be competing at the top of the Premier Division as well. That’s exactly what a club like this should be doing.
“There’s still a job to be done this season as we’re not quite over the line yet, but the team has done fantastic when you consider it’s almost like a new club.
“Of course, there’s still a few players who were here last season, but Dover Athletic has had a change in management with myself and Darren Hare coming in and then you’ve got all the new lads who have joined the club.
“The players are getting better with every match and will only grow as a team.”
Frannie Collin and Jon Wallis are two players who are out of contract in the summer – but Hess admits he will sit down with the pair “when the time is right” to discuss new deals.
He said: “I’ve heard that some people don’t believe discussing contracts, and such like, are distracting. But they are.
*Lpic1*”We’ve still got a title to win and no-one is thinking about their contract situation. Once the dust is settled and we get over the line, we will start sorting things out.
“Jon and Frannie have been fantastic. They’ve both played a big part in what we’ve achieved this season and Dover Athletic is a club that wants to go even further forward.
“Rest assured, I’ve already got one eye on next season and have done for several months now. It’s important to start planning way ahead so it’s gives you an advantage over other clubs in the summer.”
Whites travel to Leatherhead on Saturday before taking on Ashford at Crabble on Bank Holiday Monday.
And Hess said: “We’ve got a difficult run-in. These two games will not be easy. Both have little to play for so will be relaxed – and Ashford of course have a number of ex-Dover players in their ranks. They will be up for it big-time.”