Dover v FC Halifax Town: Opposition Focus

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FC Halifax Town can expect to face a tough afternoon of crosses into their penalty area at Dover, according to Cameron Hogwood, who covers the club for KentOnline.

Andy Hessenthaler’s Dover side are one place and two points above the relegation zone, having won 10, drawn 10 and lost 18 of their 38 league games this season.

Hogwood says they are fighting hard and playing like a team desperate to stay up.

“Their results over the past couple of months probably don’t do them justice when considering how many chances they have been creating,” he said.

“There was a hint of nervousness among both the players and the fans in the closing exchanges of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood, and understandably so.

“It’s going to be like that for the rest of the season, but the team has shown enough in an attacking sense to suggest they can see out the task.

“It’s easy to forget that Dover looked a beaten side at one point earlier in the season. They have since moved onto 40 points and given themselves a real chance of surviving.

“They have lost in stoppage-time from winning positions on three occasions since the beginning of February, the latest being last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat away to Hartlepool. Whilst those results have been difficult to take, they do serve as a sign that with better game management they are more than good enough to stay up.”

Hogwood earmarked Dover’s threat from set-pieces as an area for Halifax to look out for.

“A main strength to Dover is how well they stretch the pitch with their full-backs, particularly with Bobby-Joe Taylor’s bursting runs down the left-hand side. His final delivery makes the team a huge threat from set-piece scenarios.

“Recent weeks have also seen them look dangerous on the counter attack through the likes of Jeffrey and Reason. Improving on the final pass in the decisive areas of the pitch would take Dover a long way towards securing their place in the National League next season.

“In terms of the tactical approach, Halifax can expect a tough afternoon when it comes to dealing with crosses into their penalty area. They must also be wary of the speed at which Dover are capable of breaking forward at.”

Hogwood says midfielder Jai Reason is the standout player for Dover at the moment.

“Prior to Tuesday’s draw with Boreham Wood he had scored four in as many games and was hugely missed in the 1-0 defeat to Maidenhead. Besides offering a goal threat, he is also key in bridging Whites’ defence and attack when they look to break quickly.

“Winger Jeffrey is another to look out for having troubled Boreham Wood all evening with his pace and directness on the left-hand side. If he can polish his end product he could be a vital player for Dover over the remainder of the season.”

Hessenthaler appears to have an almost fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday’s match.

Hogwood added: “Winger Ricky Modeste has been absent for the past two matches having been substituted with an injury during the 3-0 win over Braintree. It remains to be seen whether he returns at the weekend.

“Other than him, Dover look set to have their main men available.

“Hessenthaler has named an unchanged side for the past two games, so it would come as no surprise were he to keep his faith in the same 11.

“Should that be the case, Lee Worgan would keep his place in goal having started the last three games ahead of number one Mitch Walker. Danny McNamara would start on the right of a back four alongside a central duo of Mitch Brundle and Kevin Lokko, with Bobby-Joe Taylor slotting in at left-back.

“Dover’s midfield would likely consist of Stuart Lewis and Bedsente Gomis, the latter of whom was excellent in mid-week. There is then some room for flexibility in attacking areas, with Reason likely to sit in behind Pavey and Jamie Allen, whilst Jeffrey features predominantly from the left.”

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