Garry Wilson fears Hastings United’s hopes for a successful season may be hindered by the volume of matches.
The U’s will play at least 59 games in all competitions this term and it could well be more if they make further progress in the two cups they are still involved in.
We want to be looking for a play-off position as a minimum requirement and that’s what we have to focus on doing now.Garry Wilson
Their good form in the cups - United have lost only two of their 11 fixtures in the knockout competitions so far this term - means they have played fewer league matches than anybody else in Ryman Division One South.
“I think so, but I hope not,” said United manager Wilson, when asked if the number of games could affect his team’s prospects. “We’ve done reasonably well to get through three rounds in the FA Cup and two in the FA Trophy, but the most important thing is the league position.
“We want to be looking for a play-off position as a minimum requirement and that’s what we have to focus on doing now. It’s there for us, but it’s going to be hard.”
United already have midweek fixtures arranged for January and they are now without a game next weekend because scheduled opponents Molesey are still involved in the FA Trophy.
Although results have been pretty good, Wilson admits that playing every Saturday and Tuesday at present is taking its toll on the squad.
Zac Attwood, Sam Cole and Tom Vickers are all injured, Jack Walder is banned for the next three games, and Tyrell Richardson-Brown was unavailable for Tuesday’s FA Trophy tie against Merthyr Town.
“Playing Saturday, Tuesday every week does take its toll,” Wilson went on. “The players have got injuries and knocks, and sometimes unavailability, and it becomes difficult. It’s crucial we get these players back as soon as possible.”
United are 13th in the table, but have at least three games in hand on all of the teams above them. They will host seventh-placed South Park today (Saturday).
“They’re doing really well,” added Wilson, who was fairly pleased with his team’s display in the last gasp 2-1 loss against Merthyr. “I think they’ve been one of the surprises in the league this year and it will be a hard game.”
United will entertain Sittingbourne on Tuesday night in a Ryman League Alan Turvey Trophy third round tie. That match was put back a week after the Merthyr game was rearranged for this Tuesday having been abandoned at half time on Saturday.
TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES
(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)
Ryman League, Division 1 South: Hastings Utd v South Park.
Macron Store Southern Combination League,
Division 1: Crawley Down Gatwick v Bexhill Utd; Little Common v Langney Wanderers.
Division 2 (2): Hurstpierpoint v Westfield.
Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup, 3rd round: Bexhill Utd U21 v Bosham; Lindfield v Ore Athletic 1.30.
Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup, 1st round (1.30): Westfield II v Sedlescombe Rangers.
Macron East Sussex League (2), Premier Division: Battle Baptists v Mountfield Utd; Hollington Utd v Rock-a-Nore; Peche Hill Select v St Leonards Social.
Division 1: Ticehurst v Wadhurst Utd.
Division 2: Northiam 75 v Peche Hill Select II.
Division 3: Orington v Hooe Sports.
Division 4: Grasshoppers Old Boys v Conquest Utd; Hawkhurst Utd II v The JC Tackleway II; Punnetts Town v Battle Baptists II.
Division 5: FC Westridge P Battle Baptists III P; Icklesham Casuals II v Robertsbridge Utd II; Sandhurst v Hampden Park Utd; Sedlescombe Rangers III v St Leonards.
Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup, 2nd round (1.30): Little Common III v Eastbourne Athletic.
Hastings & District FA Junior Cup, 2nd round (1.30): Burwash v St Leonards Social II; Catsfield v Bexhill AAC; Sedlescombe Rangers II v Peasmarsh Utd; Sidley Utd v AFC Hastings; The JC Tackleway v Crowhurst; Westfield III v Bexhill Utd II.
Robertsbridge Charity Junior Cup, 2nd round (1.30): Bexhill Rovers v Hastings Rangers; Pebsham Sibex v Wittersham II; West Hill Utd v Bexhill AAC II.
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