Hastings United boss expecting ‘tough’ Haywards Heath Town test
Hastings United manager Chris Agutter admitted he is expecting a ‘tough’ test as his side prepare to host Haywards Heath Town in the BetVictor Isthmian Division One South East this Saturday.
The mid-table Blues have had a mixed start to the season, earning six wins, seven draws and three defeats, and currently sit in 12th place.
The reverse league fixture between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw back in October and, with the U’s yet to drop any points at home this year, winning all nine league games at Pilot Field, Agutter is keen for his side to preserve that record.
He said: “It is always tough against Haywards Heath, they’re really well coached and a good side.
“Despite having a relatively slow start, I expect in the second half of the season they’ll come on strong and make a push for the play-offs.
“We beat them previously in the Velocity Trophy when they were virtually full strength and we had a much changed team with the majority of the U23s playing.
“So, on our home patch, where we’ve won every game and will almost be at full strength, we’ll obviously be aiming to win the game.”
Agutter confirmed star midfielders Davide Rodari and Adam Lovatt will be out for a considerable length of time after picking up recent leg injuries.
Lovatt is expected to be out for at least six weeks, news which Agutter described as ‘disappointing’.
Meanwhile, Rodari will be out for a month, putting both players’ hopes of making an appearance in United’s top-of-the-table clash against Ashford United on February 8 in major doubt.
The news is expected to ward off potential suitors from the National League and beyond with various clubs expressing serious interest in both players in the last four weeks.
In more positive news, Agutter revealed youngster Tom Chalmers should make his return from the sidelines on Saturday.
Chalmers’ goal separated Hastings and Haywards Heath in their Velocity Trophy clash earlier this season.
After putting in a full 90-minute shift against Ramsgate last week, Ollie Black is also now back fully fit.