Pic: Gavin Ellis
DOVER ATHLETIC’S second summer of discontent shows no sign of abating any time soon with another of their big names set to say goodbye.
The Whites’ squad was pulled apart during the last close season and it’s been even worse a year on.
As expected, top scorer Ricky Miller has signed for Peterborough United on a free transfer, while key defender Richard Orlu joins Woking. But that’s not the half of it.
Captain Jamie Grimes couldn’t turn down a Football League chance at Cheltenham Town, while Ricky Modeste has decided to play two leagues down with Billericay Town in the Ryman Premier.
James Hurst has agreed to play for Wrexham, Ross Lafayette is now a Sutton United player and, this week, centre-back Bondz N’Gala joined Dagenham &?Redbridge on a two-year deal.
Dover supporters concerned by the exodus may want to look away now. The unwanted exits are not subsiding and The NLP can reveal fans’ favourite Sam Magri has rejected a new contract at the Crabble and is almost certain to leave for an EFL club imminently.
A source close to the player confirmed that there is interest from north and south of the border in the Malta international, who played a number of times for England U17s.
“Magri is one of the players a lot of Football League and Scottish Premier League clubs are after,” he said.
“He has rejected the offer of a new contract and has decided it’s time for a fresh challenge, hopefully for him it’s in the Football League.
“Because of his age, he is 23, Dover are entitled to a certain amount of compensation. But the rules are different if he goes to Scotland. If he ends up there, then the SPL clubs do not have to pay a penny so it is in Dover’s best interests if he plays in England.”
There are two Scottish clubs keen, Hibernian and Motherwell. National League champions Lincoln City are looking at the utility player, who is comfortable in the centre of defence and in midfield.
The Imps are also interested in Barrow midfielder Alex-Ray Harvey, who has a year to run on his Holker Street contract.
Magri has caught the eye of four League One sides with Fleetwood Town, Rochdale, Bradford City and Peterborough United all interested in doing a deal.
Although unlikely with EFL offers expected, National League duo Gateshead and Dagenham & Redbridge have declared their interest.
It’s a case of déjà vu for Dover fans, with manager Chris Kinnear unable to keep their successful squad together.
After reaching the play-offs in 2015-16, the Whites said goodbye to Nicky Deverdics to Hartlepool, Sean Raggett who was a great success at Lincoln City and top scorer Stefan Payne – picked up by Championship side Barnsley.
Kinnear faces an even bigger restoration job this summer but he has already set about the big rebuild with a number of interesting signings.
They won the race for in-demand Southport striker Jamie Allen last month, and Kane Richards, the Chester frontman, has also signed.
Chairman Jim Parmenter said looking ahead to the summer: “The fans should be looking forward to another competitive season, another strong squad, but a smaller squad of players.
“Everyone in the club knows we need to do things slightly differently. We need to improve, we need to be more professional, we need to do the little changes or adjustments that mean we won’t make the same slip-up that we did this year which prevented us getting in the play-offs.
“The whole structure of the club on and off the field is going to be reviewed. We’ll look at how we’re doing everything, from travel to training, and try to make the changes that mean we’re that much more competitive next season.”