Hastings United manager Chris Agutter insisted the club’s young players are ‘capable’ and ‘good enough’ as he praised the U’s youth and academy set-up.
Speaking ahead of this Saturday’s BetVictor South East clash against Phoenix Sports, Agutter revealed he may need to call up some of the U23s side with a number of first team regulars sidelined through injury.
He said: “We have three or four players out with injuries, some are quite fatigued, and it’s a small squad, so obviously a lot of people have played a lot of football already.
“Ollie Weeks has been outstanding in the league cup in the games he’s played, Leon Greig made his first team debut on Tuesday night and he was one of the best players on the pitch and Tom Chalmers is going from strength to strength.
“The young lads that are coming through are good enough, they just need to be given the opportunity and going to Whitehawk away and winning in the manner that they did only enforces that they’re ready.”
He continued: “It’s credit to Andrew Brown, Shaun Ray, Glyn White and the academy.
“The most important thing is that when first team players are coming through, you can’t try and rush them.
“Yes, young players make mistakes, but one thing’s for sure, all our young players will always work hard and have got a really good grounding.
“You know with the young lads coming through they’ll give you absolutely everything and we ran Whitehawk into the ground which was brilliant.”
Hastings will be looking to continue their unbeaten home and league form when they welcome fifth-placed Phoenix to Pilot Field but Agutter insisted he’s not getting ahead of himself.
He said: “We tend not to look too far ahead because if you do, you end up not getting there, so it’s just one game at a time.
“We’re in a really good place, and we want to maintain momentum, but I’m very comfortable in the fact that whatever side we put out will do Hastings United justice.
“(Phoenix Sports) will be tough. They’re a very aggressive side, always very direct and got dangerous individuals so we’ll have to be at our best to overcome that challenge.”
Agutter revealed an extensive injury list with Gary Elphick, Craig Stone, Ryan Worrall and Ben Pope all struggling from various knocks.
He said: “I’m sure we will (call on the U23s) but they’ve earned that opportunity after what they’ve done whenever they’ve played. They’ve never let us down.”
Hastings’ Sussex Senior Cup tie at home to Brighton & Hove Albion U23s has been rescheduled for 7.45pm on Tuesday November 19th.