Dover v FC Halifax Town: Opposition focus
Power, resilience and a superb work ethic - that is what FC Halifax Town will come up against when they face Dover on Saturday, according to Cameron Hogwood, from Kent Online.
Dover have started the season well, sitting in fifth place in the National League with seven wins, two draws and four defeats from their first 13 games.
Cameron gives us the lowdown on their season so far, and what Halifax can expect to come up against.
How are Dover playing at the moment?
There isn’t a whole lot you can fault about Dover so far this season. The only area that has perhaps cost them at times is their conviction in the final third. Nonetheless, Inih Effiong is the league’s joint-top scorer with seven and Ricky Modeste has four to his name so they are scoring goals. Their away form in particular has been outstanding, they’ve won six out of their seven games on the road and seem to be thriving against home teams that set-up to play on the front foot.
Their season so far?
Dover have struggled to find any form at home so far and have won just one of their six outings at Crabble. The results haven’t always done justice to their performances but it’s certainly an area they have turned a focus towards as a team.
What’s Dover’s style of play?
A lot of Dover’s best work going forward tends to come from the wider areas. Winger Ricky Modeste has been exceptional so far this season and has built up a great partnership with right-back Josh Passley. He hassles defenders, doesn’t stop running and offers a real threat with his pace in-behind. On the opposite side, left-back Bobby-Joe Taylor is always a danger with the quality of his deliveries into the box. He’s been a big miss while out injured in recent weeks. Besides their aerial prowess, Whites also carry a threat on the counter-attack. Summer signing Kurtis Cumberbatch has really bought into that with his driving runs from deep in midfield.
What’s impressed you most about them this season?
As there was towards the end of last season, there is a notable togetherness and unity to the squad both on and off the pitch. The ability for players to carry out different jobs and fill in for teammates has also been impressive, whether that’s been Oscar Gobern slotting in at left-back in Bobby-Joe Taylor’s absence, Scott Doe replacing injured skipper Kevin Lokko at centre-back or Aaron Simpson alternating between both full-back roles. When everyone is fit and available, there is a vital depth to the squad.
What can Halifax expect to come up against?
Power, resilience and a superb work ethic. It’s a team that fights for every ball and one that will create defences plenty of problems as the season progresses. Expect lots of width and quick breaks.
Who is Dover’s dangerman?
It’s hard to look beyond Effiong right now. Manager Andy Hessenthaler spoke in the summer about it being a big season for the No.9 and he’s certainly delivering that so far. He’s frightening defenders with his power, he’s leading the press from the front and, most importantly, he’s found himself on a run in front of goal. Modeste has also been a nuisance for defenders so far this season, whether it be with his work rate when retrieving the ball or stretching the opposition with runs in behind. Nassim L’Ghoul may not start on Saturday, but the winger is certainly one to keep an eye out for. Against tiring defenders, the tricky summer signing can be a real handful.
Dover are waiting to see on the fitness of midfielders Jack Munns and Oscar Gobern, both of whom missed the games at Hartlepool and Maidenhead. The same can be said for right-back Passley, who picked up an ankle injury against Hartlepool. Dover are, however, likely to welcome back skipper Kevin Lokko into the starting line-up along with Taylor, who started against Maidenhead.
Likely line-up and formation?
I’d expect Dover to set up in a 4-3-3 on paper. Injuries make it difficult to say who starts, but as mentioned I’d expect Kevin Lokko to slot in alongside Will de Havilland at centre-back, with Taylor left-back and either Simpson or Passley right-back. I suspect Cumberbatch keeps his place in the team after his goal at Maidenhead, potentially alongside Jai Reason and Michael Woods in midfield. The front three will likely consist of Steven Rigg, Inih Effiong and Ricky Modeste, with Nassim L’Ghoul also pushing for a start on the left.