Aldershot Town v Dover Athletic Match Preview – Saturday 22nd September 2018
Following last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at AFC Fylde, Aldershot Town return to the EBB Stadium on Saturday to take on Chris Kinnear’s Dover Athletic. BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall previews the game.
Shots boss Gary Waddock brought in 20-year-old midfielder Adam May on a three-month Youth Loan from League One Portsmouth on Thursday and he is available for the Dover match. Scott Rendell missed the trip to Mill Farm with a hamstring issue, so Saturday could come too soon for his return. Shamir Fenelon remains a doubt after missing the last two games with injury. Waddock remains without injured Hull City loanee goalkeeper Will Mannion, who is still recovering from a quad injury. Reading loanee George Legg, who pulled off some cracking saves to keep the score down at Fylde, is likely to continue deputise, although Jake Cole, Shots ‘August Player of the Month’ is also fit and available should Waddock decide to freshen things up in the search for a clean sheet – something that has eluded his team since the season opening 0-0 draw with Barnet. Long term absentees Karleigh Osborne and Marvin McCoy are now back in training and both took part in the 5-0 Hampshire Senior Cup defeat at Solent on Monday evening.
Name: Dover Athletic
Nickname: The Whites
Manager: Chris Kinnear
Stadium: The Crabble Athletic Ground
2017/18 National League position: 8th
The dissolution of Dover FC in 1983 saw the formation of a new club, Dover Athletic, who took up the vacant place in the Southern League. Athletic won the title in 1990, but failed to gain promotion to the Conference due to the ground not meeting the required standard. Three years later, the same feat was repeated and resulted in promotion to Non-League top tier. Dover remained there for nine years before relegation. Restructuring of the league saw them transfer to the Isthmian League in 2004, from which they were relegated in their first season. Successive promotions in 2008 and 2009 took them to the Conference South. Three play-off seasons in five years eventually saw them regain their Conference status in 2013-14 after a twelve-year absence. Since then, they have always finished in the top half and their fifth-place finish in 2015-16 remains the highest placing in the club’s history.
Chris Kinnear is in his second stint as Dover manager. In his first reign at the Crabble, he took the club from the foot of the Southern League to the Conference winning the Southern League Southern Division (1987/88) and the Southern League Premier Division twice (1989/90, 1992/93) reaching the Conference in 1993 for the first time after the club were contentiously denied due to ground regulations in 1990.
After promotion in 1993, Kinnear led the club to 8th place in the first Conference season after an incredible start saw the team challenging at the top of the table before slipping away. A year later, personal issues led to his departure from Crabble after ten years of success. Re-joining the club in 2013, he has led them to promotion back to the top tier of non-league football and fifth, sixth and eighth place finishes.
Including loan signings returning to their parent clubs, a total of 13 players left Dover at the end of last season. Notably, Kinnear lost three key defenders; Femi Ilesanmi & Manny Parry joined Boreham Wood, whilst fellow centre-back Giancarlo Gallifuoco now plays for FC Rieti in Italy. Top scorer Ryan Bird moved on to Maidenhead United, whilst they lost Mitch Pinnock to EFL side AFC Wimbledon during the latter part of last season.
Twelve players stayed – including experienced goalkeeper Mitch Walker, defender Connor Essam, utility player Mitch Brundle and striker Jamie Allen. Eleven new arrivals are now settling in at The Crabble, including central defenders Moussa Diarra (Barrow) and Kevin Lokko (Stevenage), midfielder Bedsente Gomis (Barrow), Winger Anthony Jeffrey (Sutton United) and ex-Woking and Barrow striker Inih Effiong.
Saturday’s referee is Gary Parsons and this is his first National League game this term. Last season he took the middle on 20 occasions, showing 82 Yellow cards and 4 Red cards. He refereed Aldershot Town just once last season – a 2-1 home defeat to Chester.
BBC Surrey Sports Rob Worrall and a special guest will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66.