Hopkinson’s forward thinking

Westfield Parish Field. Westfield V Hastings United.'23.07.11.'Picture by: TONY COOMBES
Westfield Parish Field. Westfield V Hastings United.'23.07.11.'Picture by: TONY COOMBES
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Jason Hopkinson is targeting a forward to lighten the load of Kenny Pogue.

The Hastings United manager has pinpointed a lack of firepower as his main area of concern after seeing his team pick up four points and score only four goals from their opening five fixtures in the Ryman Premier.

“I’m not blind to it, we do need a centre-forward who holds the ball up. Kenny does need a little bit of help,” said Hopkinson.

The U’s certainly do look lightweight in the final third following the exit of summer signing Wes Tate to Sussex County League Rye United. Fred Foreman can play in an advanced role but isn’t really an out-and-out striker.

Hopkinson’s attacking options are further restricted by a playing budget which could be described as modest in comparison to a number of so-called “big spending” clubs in the division.

“I’m looking at the County League at the moment,” Hopkinson revealed regarding any possible new additions. “I can’t afford anyone who is established in that area (in attack).” A loan signing could also be a possibility.

Hastings have been working on improving the quality of delivery and making runs beyond the opposition defence during training ahead of a trip to Concord Rangers tomorrow (Saturday). Both teams sit in the early relegation places with the Canvey Island-based outfit second-from-bottom and The U’s fourth-from-bottom.

Jack Dixon, Jack Walder, Rhys Whyborne, Ross Sutton and Lee Carey are all available as Hopkinson selects from a near full-strength squad. The only absentee is likely to be George Jones who was stretchered off at home to Carshalton Athletic last weekend.

TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (ALL 3PM)

Ryman League, Premier Division: Concord Rangers v Hastings Utd.

FA Vase, 1st round qualifying: Sidley Utd v AFC Uckfield.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Rye Utd v Three Bridges.

Division 2: Mile Oak v Little Common; Southwick v Westfield; Storrington v Bexhill Utd.