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Cup heroes return to normality

Josh Jirbandey, pictured here against Middlesbrough on Saturday, is set to play his last game for Hastings United tonight before heading out to California

Josh Jirbandey, pictured here against Middlesbrough on Saturday, is set to play his last game for Hastings United tonight before heading out to California

FA Cup heroes Hastings United are back to reality tonight, as they entertain fifth-placed Wealdstone in the Ryman League Premier Division.

A courageous display ultimately ended in a 4-1 defeat to Championship side Middlesbrough in the third round of the cup on Saturday, and so it’s back to the bread and butter of the league for Sean Ray’s men.

Hastings have drawn their last seven games in the league - one away from the current Football League record - and the team are hopeful a win can lift the spirits again for the fans after the end of the glorious cup run.

United sit in 19th place (albeit with games in hand on everyone else following their cup exploits), but a win tonight could move them up as high as 16th.

Tonight’s game has major significance for defender Josh Jirbandey, as it’s his last for the club before he begins a four-year scholarship at Lassen College, California.

The former club captain was due to begin there last summer, but missed the international admissions deadline, allowing him to play a major part in Hastings’ cup run.

His appearance at the Riverside on Saturday was his 165th in United colours, and the ex-Borussia Dortmund trialist has scored eight goals for the club.

On-loan goalkeeper Liam O’Brien is likely to make his home debut having impressed at Middlesbrough on Saturday. Kick-off at The Pilot Field is 7.45pm and you can follow @SimonNewstead on Twitter for updates.

Elsewhere tonight, Sidley United will seek to build on their splendid draw at home to Sussex County League leaders Peacehaven & Telscombe on Saturday as they host St Francis Rangers.

The Blues are set to welcome back Chris Rea and Kevin Rose from suspension, while Ben Radley and Joe White should come into the squad. Kick-off at Gullivers is 7.45pm.

 

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