Dover Athletic v Chester FC
Crabble Athletic Ground
Vanarama National League
Saturday, January 28
After agreeing a new two and a half year contract, Jon McCarthy takes his Blues to promotion chasing Dover Athletic.
Chester will be fired up for this weekends clash after a hard fought draw against Wrexham last weekend.
The Blues came from behind to earn a point after former City man John Rooney put Wrexham ahead in the second half. Seven minutes later James Alabi put Chester level as he fired his spot kick into the roof of Chris Dunn’s net. The Blues were later reduced to ten men when Luke George picked up a second yellow.
George’s dismissal means he will miss the trip to Dover through suspension.
Dover go in to the weekend with no injury concerns, however Ricky Modeste’s availability is unclear as he awaits the birth of his child.
The Blues travel to Kent for a stern test against a Dover Athletic side who are hungry to get back to the winning ways that had seen them occupy a play-off place throughout much of the season despite a recent downturn in form.
Dover’s last victory came on New Year’s Day in an impressive display that saw a Moses Emmanuel double help beat Maidstone 4-1 away from home.
The Whites have failed to win in their following three league games, picking up just one point with a 2-2 draw against relegation threatened York City and defeats to Macclesfield and Lincoln City. Their current winless run of has seen them slide to 6th place and out of the playoffs on goal difference behind Barrow.
The previous meeting between the two teams saw Chester romp to a 5-0 victory at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium earlier this season.
The game was even for the first half and remained 0-0 until the 51st minute. A quick double from Johnny Hunt and James Alabi saw Chester stun the visitors and take a two goal lead.
The Blues later added a another three goals to the score sheet. Elliott Durrell found the back of the net from the spot in the 79th minute – then strikes from Craig Mahon and James Akintunde wrapped up the five goal thrashing.
A win this time round for Dover could lift them to fourth place as they look to take advantage of a weekend that sees their other play off hopefuls - separated by just six points - go head to head.
After his equaliser last weekend, James Alabi has now netted 11 times this season including 3 goals in his last 2 appearances. The striker has become a key figure in Jon McCarthy’s side and is starting to consistently produce goals week in, week out.
Dover Athletic boast three forwards who have notched up double figures in the league so far this season. Their key man and the league’s top goal scorer Ricky Miller has scored 25 times with Moses Emmanuel and Ross Lafayette registering 11 and 10 times, respectively.
Miller has scored three hat-tricks this season as he looks to rebuild his career following a contract termination at Luton Town. The striker has been referred to as the clubs ‘best ever player’ and has attracted interest from clubs in League One.
With second place Forest Green travelling to fifth place Barrow and third place Tranmere Rovers welcoming fourth place Dagenham and Redbridge, it’s a weekend that could see a big shift in the play off positions.
A win for Chester will move them to within just three points of the play-off places.
Head to Head
01/10/16: Chester 5-0 Dover Athletic
24/11/15: Chester 1-1 Dover Athletic
15/08/15: Dover Athletic 0-0 Chester
11/04/15: Chester 3-1 Dover Athletic
11/10/14: Dover Athletic 2-0 Chester
James Alabi 11
Kane Richards 7
Tom Shaw 6
Ricky Miller 25
Moses Emmanuel 11
Ross Lafayette 10
Match Preview by Danny Garbett.