Chris Agutter urged higher-division clubs to ‘put their money where their mouths are’ after recent performances from two Hastings United midfielders attracted interest from several professional clubs over the Christmas period.
Davide Rodari was rumoured to be of serious interest to National League side Harrogate Town while Adam Lovatt completed a two-day trial at Championship side Stoke City in December.
Lovatt, who’s previously been on trial at Leeds United and Brighton and Hove Albion, spent time training at the Staffordshire outfit with the Potters looking to possibly bring in the exciting prospect.
United CEO Billy Wood admitted he was pleased he got that opportunity. He said: “Of course, as a club we want to keep our best players but you also have to care about the human aspect too.
“If some of our talented players have the opportunity to change their life we will do what we can to make it happen without leaving our club vulnerable.
“Adam is one example of a few players I believe can play higher up and we may not get up to the level as quick as their careers need, therefore we have to respect that and support them.”
Manager Agutter echoed Wood’s thoughts. He added: “Like with any young player at the club, if they’ve got an opportunity to progress in the Football League, we’ll always keep that door open for them.
“We aim to develop and attract the best young players so that, when they do get the opportunities to potentially move on, it’s only encouraged.
“Unfortunately he got injured which meant he missed the Ashford game where he was sorely missed, and then, at Whyteleafe, he rolled his ankle again.”
Revealing that no formal offers for either Rodari or Lovatt have been made thus far, Agutter believes it’s unlikely they will be snapped up by the end of the January transfer window.
He said: “I can’t see them moving within the foreseeable future. As much as we want players to go higher, we’ve got to make sure we look after ourselves in getting the job done but there’s been no formal offers from anyone.”
He continued: “There’s been a lot of talk around our players for the last two and a half years, with lots of clubs wanting to take players on trial.
“But, to be quite blunt, they need to start putting their money where their mouths are and actually make offers for them.
“These players have consistently performed now, for a decent period of time, it’s not a freak peak of form. These club’s need to actually start acting rather than talking.”
Hastings are back in action this Saturday when they host second-bottom Ramsgate.