Saturday's 'top of the table' clash
5:50am, Fri 22nd Jan 2010
Woking v Dover Athletic
3pm on Saturday 23 January 2010
Tomorrow sees the Cards in action in one of their biggest games of the season as they take on second-placed Dover Athletic in a real â€˜six pointerâ€™. A win for the Cards would see them leapfrog the Whites and still have two games in hand. Andy Hessenthalerâ€™s side seem to have overcome a recent dip in form, though, and are now firing on all cylinders again with impressive FA Trophy and league wins. Donâ€™t miss what should be a great battle at Kingfield!
Graham Bakerâ€™s side will be looking to repeat their fine performance down at the Crabble in October, when they crushed the home side 2-0. At the time Wokingâ€™s away form was their saving grace but now the Cards are looking much more confident at home â€“ a confidence which will have been boosted by the very welcome news that Matthew Wright, scorer of four goals in five matches in his monthâ€™s loan spell at Kingfield, has re-joined the Club till the end of the season. The news goes some way to compensate for the expected absence of Jamie Slabber, who had to pull out of the FA Trophy tie at Oxford United on Tuesday following an injury in training the previous weekend.
Tom Hutchinson is available again, having served his one-match suspension, but Jamie Hand has to sit out another two games before he comes back into contention.
Graham Baker told me this morning that Harry Arter has a tight hamstring and didn't train yesterday: they will have to see how he is today. Matthew Wright got a knock in a reserve game for Palace but will definitely be available for selection. Graham thinks it is extremely unlikely that Jamie Slabber will be fit enough to play.
Dover, aiming for their third successive promotion, started the season extremely well with eight wins and only one defeat in their first eleven games. However, their form dipped from mid-October onwards, with only four wins in fourteen games. But theyâ€™re now looking to build on a sequence of three successive victories.
Recent results have been:
5 Dec BSS Bromley 2 Dover 2
12 Dec FAT Havant 2 Dover 3
19 Dec BSS Dover 1 St Albans City 1
26 Dec BSS Lewes 6 Dover 2
28 Dec BSS Dover 0 Chelmsford City 1
1 Jan BSS Dover 2 Lewes 0
12 Jan FAT2 Fleetwood Town 0 Dover 1
16 Jan BSS Dover 4 Havant and Waterlooville 0
Andy Hessenthaler has signed a new keeper this week, Ross Flitney, best known from his spells with Barnet and, more recently, Grays Athletic. In defence, Hessenthaler can call on the experience of Jake Leberl, while in midfield thereâ€™s even more experience in the form of Nicky Southall, with over 550 League appearances to his credit, and of course the â€˜gafferâ€™ himself, who still sometimes takes to the pitch, defying his 44 years. Up front ex-Barnet striker Adam Birchall, with 12 goals so far, has been the main Whitesâ€™ threat but he has able support in Frannie Collin and ex-Ramsgate favourite Shaun Welford. Matthew Wright could find himself doing battle with another Crystal Palace loanee, Hakeem Adelakun, a left-sided defender.
See the earlier news item for highlights of our great matchday programme, including an extensive â€˜half-termâ€™ interview with Graham Baker.
Come on, you Cards!