*BS*Dover Athletic have today made two signings until the end of the season. Marvin Hamilton has joined from Gillingham, while James Simmonds has extended his spell from Chelsea.*BF*
Marvin Hamilton, a left-footed utility player, made five appearances for Gillingham earlier this season but has been released. Whites are therefore giving him the opportunity to play first-team football and impress ahead of next season.
Hamilton has already experienced Ryman League football this season with a loan spell at local rivals Folkestone Invicta in January and February. He played in a number of positions during his six games with Neil Cugley’s side, including up front when he scored twice against Tonbridge Angels in a 3-2 win for Invicta.
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler said: “Marvin has been told he’s going to be released by Gillingham and I’ve heard lots of great reports about him so we’re bringing him here to have a look at him.
“One thing we do lack at times is pace and we’ve been told that this lad’s got that in abundance so we’ve got him in to see how much he does have. He played on both sides as a wing-back and winger at Folkestone, and one game up front when he scored two goals.”
Hamilton, 19, signed a one-year professional deal at Priestfield last summer after excelling for the club’s youth team. He joined Gillingham in 2006 after starting out at Waltham Forest.
Hess said: “He played a few games for Gillingham when Ronnie Jepson was there so he has a little bit of Football League experience.”
Chelsea loanee James Simmonds has impressed in his short time at Crabble, despite missing a couple of games through injury, and Whites assistant manager Darren Hare said he is another player the club are looking at with a view to next season.
*Lpic1*Darren said: “He needs to get used to the extra-competitive side of the game. Both the gaffer and myself were delighted with his contribution on Saturday, albeit we lost the game. We thought he came on and looked really bright.
“He could be another player we’d be keen to talk to for next season. There’s lots of ifs and buts at the moment. We’ve got half an eye on what we’re going to do next year.
“The main focus is making sure that we reach our goal for this season. But players become available and we’re going to do our best to get them in.”
Dover’s first target is to win the title. Boss Andy Hessenthaler believes that when that aim is achieved, the side will be able to finish the season playing with freedom having removed the nerves and pressure on them.
Hess said: “It goes without saying that we need to wrap up the title first and I want four wins from four games to get that 100 points. However, when players become available it would be a bit short-sighted to pass up the opportunity to take a look.
“If we can wrap up the title as soon as possible then obviously we can all relax a little bit and get ready to go again next season.”
For more on Marvin Hamilton and James Simmonds, as well as the title race and plans for next season, you can listen to assistant manager Darren Hare’s interview on DAFCradio: