Hastings boss: Someone's going to get a hammering

Chris Agutter believes his improving Hastings United football team is due to '˜give someone an absolute hammering'.

Monday, 27th November 2017, 11:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:13 pm
Adam Lovatt in the thick of the action during Hastings United's goalless draw at home to Chipstead on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White

The new-look young Hastings side is unbeaten in its last six Bostik League Division One South matches and its last seven in all competitions.

Hastings picked up four points from their two games over the past week, winning 2-1 at home to VCD Athletic on Saturday and drawing 0-0 at home to Chipstead on Tuesday night.

Agutter, Hastings’ manager, said: “If we had gone in at half time 5-0 up against VCD, no-one could’ve complained. If we had won six or 7-0 on Tuesday night, they couldn’t have complained.

Davide Rodari closes down a Chipstead opponent. Picture courtesy Scott White

“The chances we missed were unbelievable really considering how we’ve been in front of goal the last few weeks. We’re due to give someone an absolute hammering.

“I felt we completely outclassed VCD, in particular during the first half, and Chipstead for 90 minutes. I thought the first half against VCD was the best 45 minutes of the season.”

Hastings fielded what was thought to be the club’s youngest ever team in the 3-1 win at Ashford United a fortnight ago when the average age of the starting XI was 20.9. That figure dropped to 20.2 against VCD and Chipstead.

“I’m not surprised by the improvement,” continued Agutter. I knew with the players we’ve got and the potential we’ve got, it was always going to happen. Did I expect it to develop as quickly as it has? Probably not.

“We’re definitely moving in the right direction. The last two managers have both said we’ve been arguably the best team they’ve played.

“The tempo and quality of play we’re showing at the moment is outstanding, and our energy levels and work ethic are brilliant.

“The passing and expansiveness, the on-the-ball stuff will get a lot of plaudits, but the off-the-ball stuff has been outstanding. The players are playing with commitment and passion.

“Because of the quality we’ve got, all the players need to do is run their socks off. If they do that, their performances will only keep improving.”

Now 14th in the table, Hastings will seek to make it an undefeated November when they host 16th-placed Guernsey today (Saturday). Kick-off is at the earlier time of 1pm.

“We’re seven unbeaten now and my biggest worry is always complacency,” said Agutter. “But where the team’s as young as it is and as hungry as it is, I think that helps prevent any complacency. The atmosphere in the camp is very positive without being complacent.

“Ever since taking over the atmosphere and togetherness between the team has been top drawer. They (the players) have bought in to what we expect, and they can see how hard all the staff work and how we want it to be a professional environment, and they’re more than reciprocating it.”

Rhys Whyborne is likely to be out for 2-3 weeks with an Achilles problem and fellow central defender Tom Climpson is away so Agutter may opt to recall another young player, Jamie Fielding, from his loan at Eastbourne United AFC.

Sam Beale should be fit for today’s game, but it’s doubtful he will start. Tom Vickers will probably play for the development squad next week and Sam Cole, who has been out for more than a year, is expected to feature for the development squad in the next fortnight.

Agutter is still talking to a central defender and box-to-box midfielder, but says that for the first time in a while, he’s quite settled with what he’s got and gave a special mention to midfielder Adam Lovatt.

In fact, he may allow one or two players to leave the club as he feels the squad, which currently involves 23 or 24 players, is too large.