Ray returns for key Harrow clash

Sean Ray is set to return for the visit of Harrow Borough tonight
Sean Ray is set to return for the visit of Harrow Borough tonight

Player-manager Sean Ray will return from a four-match ban as Hastings United host Harrow Borough tonight (Tuesday).

Ray could well partner Ben Judge, the sponsor’s man of the match during the 1-0 defeat at home to Leiston on Saturday, in central defence in a key game in United’s quest for Ryman Football League Premier Division survival.

“I hate being in the dugout,” said Ray. “I was hoping to come back in a better situation, but we’ve put ourselves in this position and the league table doesn’t lie. We’ve won four games all season and it’s not good enough. We’ve got to put it right.”

The U’s now find themselves in the second and final relegation place, although they could move up a couple of spots with three points tonight against a Harrow side which they beat in August’s reverse fixture.

Harrow are five places and seven points above United having played two more matches. The north-west London outfit will make the journey to the south coast in pretty good form having won four and drawn one of its seven games since the start of February.

United will assess the fitness of Tom Vickers, who came off at half time on Saturday with an ankle knock. Ray is hoping to have Bradley Goldberg back for the trip to East Thurrock United on Saturday. Kick-off at The Pilot Field tonight is 7.45pm, but there will be a pitch inspection at 1pm.

Elsewhere tonight, Rye United and Sidley United will be hoping their pitches dry out from the recent rain so that they can start eating into their fixture backlogs in Sussex County Football League Division One.

Rye, who have had their last three matches postponed, are due to entertain Shoreham and Sidley, who have had their most recent two games called-off, are at home to East Preston. Sidley’s match is subject to a midday inspection and is looking doubtful.

Eighth-placed Rye will be targeting all three points against fourth-bottom Shoreham and in the process they could do Sidley a favour because the Blues are only one position and one point above Rye’s opponents.

Sidley will have their work cut out against fifth-placed East Preston, but they did beat the same opposition on penalties in a John O’Hara League Cup tie back in November. The matches involving Rye and Sidley are also scheduled to get under way at 7.45pm.