We’re back at the Lane for the third consecutive Saturday as we return to Vanarama National League action by hosting Dover Athletic.
We’ve had longer to recover from last week’s Buildbase FA Trophy win than we thought we would, with our trip to Fylde in the week postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Our form since the beginning of December has seen us climb to fifth in the Vanarama National League and we’ll be hoping to extend our unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games when the Whites visit us.
They’ll be in high spirits, too. No one in the division has earned more points on the road than Dover, who average two points per game on their travels.
They’re yet to taste victory in 2020, though, losing 3-0 at Bromley on New Year’s Day before drawing with Hartlepool on their most recent outing.
They’re in 13th but, with two games in hand, will see the play-offs as an attainable target this season, while we’ll look to consolidate our spot in the top seven with victory at the weekend.
Neal Ardley says…
“Their away form is staggering and the boys know they are facing a team who are very good on their travels.
“Some games you know will go a certain way but I have no idea if they’ll try and frustrate us or come and have a go knowing they’re good away from home.
“They have threats and created chances when we went there in October but so did we.
“We’ll try and be ready for every scenario and we know we have to be at it because any team can beat us if we’re not.”
Having made plans for rotation in the week, Ardley says he’s now had to rethink his selections for Saturday due to the Fylde postponement.
Sean Shields is available despite a tough week with a personal matter and Jim O’Brien’s recovery is progressing well, but he won’t be back in matchday squads just yet.
Dover added to their defensive ranks on Friday with the loan signing of youngster Shadrach Ogie from Leyton Orient, who will go straight into the squad.
Nassim L’Ghoul came off the bench to earn the Whites a point against Hartlepool last time out and he’ll hope to start on Saturday, while top scorer Inih Effiong will look for his first goal since Boxing Day.
We’ve met before
It was an entertaining encounter on the Kent coast when we made the trip to the Crabble Athletic Ground in October.
Bobby-Joe Taylor opened the scoring with a perfectly-placed free-kick after 35 minutes but Mitch Rose’s penalty levelled things before the break.
Kevin Lokko turned home from a set piece just short of the hour and there was late drama when Kristian Dennis proved super-sub by heading in an injury-time equaliser.
Any supporters with queries this weekend are advised to report them to our Supporter Liaison Officer, Ian Baggot.
He will be in the Broken Wheelbarrow from 2pm and situated in the Derek Pavis Stand during the game, wearing a high-visibility jacket to make him easy to spot.
Referee: Elliott Swallow
Assistants: Martyn Holmes and Lewis Dawson
Fourth official: Matthew Jackson
Around the league
LV BET, the National League’s official betting partner, look at the action elsewhere in the division this weekend…
Barrow v Bromley
The weekend’s live BT Sport game pits table-topping Barrow against fourth-placed Bromley.
Not only are the Bluebirds three points clear, they have two games in hand on everyone else and in 2020 they’ve scored 17 in all competitions without conceding.
But in Bromley they face a real test. The Ravens will close the gap to two points with a win at Holker Street in front of the TV cameras.
Yeovil Town v Hartlepool United
Title-chasing Yeovil know they need a win after taking just four points from the last nine available, but their goalless draw with Solihull Moors last time out was the first occasion they’ve failed to score in 10 games.
Hartlepool are inconsistent – with two wins, draws and losses from their last six – but they’re looking to complete a hat-trick of victories over the Glovers after league and FA Cup successes this season.
Ebbsfleet United v Harrogate Town
Harrogate have won four league games in a row and have kept clean sheets in their last three, while Ebbsfleet haven’t won since November and shipped seven at Barrow on their most recent outing.
Town were too strong for Fleet earlier in the season as they won 2-0, with Brendan Kiernan getting two but he hasn’t scored since November.
Solihull Moors v Boreham Wood
Solihull have won 10 of their 13 home matches during the campaign and are yet to draw in front of their own fans, but they’ve taken just eight points from a possible 18 recently.
In-form Boreham Wood are unbeaten in 10 and strikers Kabongo Tshimanga and Tyrone Marsh have a combined 26 goals between them this season.
Stockport County v Sutton United
Stockport have scored an impressive 44 goals in 2019-20 but have conceded 46 – more than anyone else in the top half – and shipped four at home to Dorking Wanderers in the FA Trophy on Tuesday.
Sutton have won four of their last five National League matches but came unstuck at Chesterfield last time out.
The Dover match is the first included in our Run-In ticket bundle, which allows you to make significant savings on admission for our final eight home games of the season. Click here to find out more.