Scout report: Why Hartlepool United must learn from Salford City setback ahead of Dover Athletic clash

Hartlepool United face relegation-threatened Dover Athletic at the Super 6 Stadium this weekend - but what should they expect?

Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:36 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 10:18 pm
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler took charge of the Whites for a second time back in October.

Pools lost 2-1 to the Whites back in November, when Andy Hessenthaler's side were languishing at the bottom of the National League.

Four days later Pools parted company with manager Matthew Bates, and a lot has changed at the Super 6 Stadium since the sides last met.

But how have Dover fared since the previous meeting between the two sides three and a half months ago?

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We take a closer look at the Whites ahead of Saturday's clash.

What system will Dover play?Since his return to the club on October 8, Hessenthaler has tightened things up in defence by switching to a back four.

The Whites have often started games in a 4-3-1-2 formation, which still allows them to play with two strikers - often Inih Effiong and Jamie Allen.

Hessenthaler did revert to a back three against bottom of the table Braintree last time out though, which allowed the Dover boss to fit more offensive players into the team.

The tactic worked, as the Whites won the game 3-0 to ease their relegation fears.

Who are Dover’s key players?

Captain Mitch Brundle has missed just one league game this campaign and will be vital for the Whites' promotion hopes.

The 24-year-old is versatile and can play in defence or midfield, while he's also chipped in with six league goals and six assists this term.

Pools fans may also remember 28-year-old striker Effiong, who scored the Whites' second goal at the Crabble Athletic Ground when the sides last met.

However, Dovers' top scorer, who has netted eight times in the league this campaign, dropped to the bench against Braintree last time out.

Defender Kevin Lokko, 23, has also been a regular this term and has chipped in with six goals from the back.

Do Dover have any injury worries?

Hessenthaler made three changes against Braintree as goalkeeper Mitch Walker, Effiong and Millwall loanee Danny McNamara made way.

The trio could be recalled against Pools though.

Who is Dover’s manager and what can we expect from them?

A former player for the club, Hessenthaler went on to manage Dover between 2007 and 2010.

Following spells at Gillingham, Leyton Orient and Eastleigh, the 53-year-old returned to the Crabble Athletic Ground in October, before making Dover go full-time.

As a former defender, Hessenthaler likes to keep things tight at the back and Dover have only conceded three goals in a league game once since his appointment.

That may not sound impressive, but the White let in three or more goals on four separate occasions before Hessenthaler's appointment.

What form have Dover been in?After winning just one of their opening 18 league games this season, Dover have established a four-point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone.

The Whites have won two of their last three league, including an impressive 3-1 win over promotion-chasing Salford City.

Even so, they still have work to do to beat the drop.

Last six league games: DLLWLW