United boss set to turn to youth

Sam Cruttwell puts Hastings United ahead during Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat at home to Thamesmead Town. Picture courtesy Scott White
Sam Cruttwell puts Hastings United ahead during Tuesday night's 2-1 defeat at home to Thamesmead Town. Picture courtesy Scott White

Unhappy Hastings United Football Club manager Chris Agutter looks set to inject more youth into his misfiring team.

Hastings lie 15th in Bostik Football League Division One South having picked up one point from their last three games, the latest of which was a rather abject 2-1 loss at home to Thamesmead Town on Tuesday night.

Agutter said: “There will certainly be changes. The last three games we’ve dropped seven points from winning positions and there’s probably been over 1,000 league appearances at Bostik League South or above on the pitch in all three games.

“One of the criticisms early season was ‘too many kids, too naive’, but the last three games - or to be honest during my whole six or seven games in charge - we’ve looked a lot more experienced, but we’re still as inconsistent as we were at the start of the season.

“I’m looking long and hard at it to be honest. We’ve gone with the tried and tested players who have played plenty of games at this level and we’re still not achieving the sort of results or consistency that’s required.”

Hastings have lost exactly half of their 14 league games so far and are just two points above fourth-from-bottom Molesey.

“Looking at the league table now, I’m not even thinking about promotion if I’m being brutally honest,” continued Agutter. “I’m thinking of this season as being a building process.

“We can muddle through and try to get the best out of the tried and tested, which ultimately hasn’t been successful, or we go with a new approach.

“If you said to me we will finish just outside the play-offs with the same group of players, that wouldn’t be progress. If we finish 11th or 12th and Ansu Janneh and Davide Rodari have played 30 games this season, and are ready to go into next season, that’s progress.

“I sit there and watch the under-21s rip every single team they play against apart. Young, hungry players that have got bags of potential and are only going to improve.

“We’ve got an exceptional group of young players at the club who I know can play the way I want to play. If you give those younger players six months with the right support from senior players, like a Sam Adams for example, I know that we will go into next season developing something.

“The performances of the last three games - that’s not me. I want to dominate the ball and territory, I want to regain possession quickly, I want to be a horrible team to play against.”

Hastings have released midfielder Lee Carey and forward Dean Bown, who has joined Horsham.

Hastings will host Ashford Town (Middx), who play in the equivalent-standing Evo-Stik League South East Division, in Buildbase FA Trophy first round qualifying tomorrow (Saturday), kick-off 3pm.