Top half target for United boss

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray
Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray

Hastings United should be challenging in the top half of the Ryman Premier League according to Sean Ray.

United’s player-boss was speaking on the eve of the new season which sees his team face a tough looking trip to Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday.

Hastings have flirted with relegation in all but one season since they made the step up to the Premier and Ray is desperate to see that change.

“We want to push on. We don’t want to be struggling at the bottom, we should be challenging in the top half of the league,” he said.

Hastings have secured the services of the majority of last season’s squad and added the likes of full back Elliott Cox, former Brighton & Hove Albion youth skipper Tom Vickers and pacey forward Dee Okojie, as well as Rye United duo Jono Richardson and Liam Upton. Anthony Storey, who played a couple of pre-season games, has not been retained.

“Whether it’s home or away Hampton is going to be tough,” Ray went on. “They’ve come down from Conference South and they’ve still got a good squad.

“We are going to play the way we always play. We are going to be attacking, bright and look to get at them early. I’m not going to change the way we play to suit other teams.”

Hastings will take a 14-man squad to Hampton consisting of Matt Armstrong-Ford (GK), Ray (D), Josh Jirbandey (D), Scott Manning (D), Cox (D), Matt Whitehead (D), Lee Carey (M), Jamie Crellin (M), Danny Ellis (M), Vickers (M), Zac Attwood (F), Okojie (F), Bailo Camara (F) and Bradley Goldberg (F).

This will be bolstered by Richardson (D), Jack Dixon (D) and Upton (M) who have been away in the United States. See tomorrow’s Hastings Observer for the full article.