Salford City make the longest trip of the season to Dover Athletic on Saturday in the Vanarama National League (KO 15:00).
After a couple of blips on the road at the start of the season, league leaders Salford seem to have got to grips with the demands of travelling in this league and moved top with a win at Maidenhead United last weekend.
Dover, meanwhile, have struggled for form this season when put in the context of finishing in the top eight in their last four seasons in this league, and The Whites are in the bottom four.
On Friday they relieved Chris Kinnear of his duties, ending his second spell in charge. He led the club through the Southern Leagues to the Conference between November 1985 and 1994-95, and he returned in 2013 to again lead the club to non-league’s top flight via the Conference South Play-Offs.
Having finished so well in the last four seasons in this division, The Whites’ start to this season is a contrast and unfamiliar. Winning just once in 14 outings, a win against Havant & Waterlooville in August, prompted the club to part company with Kinnear.
That was 11 games ago and Dover are winless in the 10 subsequent games, managing back-to-back results just once in draws against Ebbsfleet United and away at Chesterfield.
Home form isn’t something that has been particularly reliable either, and that draw against Ebbsfleet is the fourth of four points at Crabble, the other three coming against Havant.
September won’t be a positive reflection for Dover, with three points from seven games (a possible 21), and a lack of goals is worrying.
There was perhaps some hope kindled away at Sutton United when The Whites came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, Timothy Schmoll scoring in the 87th minute, but that was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Barrow last weekend at Crabble.
One to Watch – Moussa Diarra
The centre-back arrived at Dover in the summer having spent the last two seasons at Barrow. At 6’5, the Frenchman is an imposing figure at the back and has played in non-league for a number of years since arriving from across the Channel in 2011. The different dimensions to Salford’s attack, second in goals scored (26) to Leyton Orient and Harrogate Town (28), will provide a challenge for the former PSG youngster though.
While nearly 300 miles and the natural divisional differences separate Salford and Dover, you wouldn’t expect there to be any common connections, but there is one…
James Poole made 17 appearances for The Whites and scored once between November 2014 and April 2015 when he was on loan from Bury.