John Maggs believes Hastings United have an “excellent chance” of clinching promotion this season.
United manager Maggs regards current leaders Leatherhead, Guernsey and Peacehaven & Telscombe as the main rivals for the Ryman Football League Division One South title.
He said: “We’re getting towards the halfway stage and it’s taking a little bit of shape. There’s four clubs there or thereabouts already. I watched Leatherhead and Guernsey last week, and both clubs will be in a challenging position. You’ve got to add Peacehaven to that and you’ve certainly got to include us.
“That’s four and you’re getting other clubs who are hitting a little bit of form, even Folkestone, and Hythe are ticking away now picking up points. I think we will go into the new year with the same four or five battling it out.
“I think Leatherhead are still the ones to beat. They’ve got a very strong squad and probably four players who weren’t playing against Guernsey would be an asset to any team.
“Guernsey have been a little bit in and out, but Peacehaven have been very consistent and so have we. We stand an excellent chance and if we can maintain a strong squad, my gut feeling is we will be right in there.”
United hit the front following their 3-0 victory at home to Eastbourne Town on Saturday, but the 2-0 defeat at Guernsey on Wednesday means they trail a Leatherhead side which won at Walton Casuals on Tuesday by two points with a game in hand.
Having flown to Guernsey, Sompting-based Maggs will virtually be able to walk to United’s next match away to sixth-placed Worthing today (Saturday).
“I’ve seen Worthing several times this year and I think it’s a big opportunity for us to get back to winning ways,” he continued. “I’m expecting to go and get something there without a doubt. We should go to Worthing with everyone available so there’s no excuses.”
Kenny Pogue will return after missing the Guernsey trip and Maggs will again face another nice selection dilemma across midfield.
TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES
(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)
Ryman League, Division 1 South: Worthing v Hastings Utd.
Sussex County League, Division 1: Arundel v Rye Utd.
Division 2: Little Common v Westfield; Storrington v Bexhill Utd.
Reserve Section (East): Seaford Town v Little Common.
ADA East Sussex League (2), Premier Division: Ninfield Utd v St Leonards Social; Ore Athletic v Robertsbridge Utd; Peche Hill Select v Iden; Ticehurst v Hollington Utd.
Division 1: Langney Wanderers II v Icklesham Casuals; Sedlescombe Rangers v Battle Baptists.
Division 2: Catsfield v Little Chelsea; JC Tackleway v Herstmonceux; Wadhurst Utd v Hawkhurst Utd; Windsor v Wittersham.
Division 3: Herstmonceux II v Conquest Utd; Old Hastonians v AFC Hastings; Pebsham Sibex v Eastbourne Athletic; Punnetts Town v Bexhill Utd III; Visick v St Helens.
Division 4: Burwash v Sovereign Saints; Iden II v Peche Hill Select II; Mayfield v Bexhill AAC II; St Leonards Social II v Bexhill-On-Sea.
Division 5: Battle Baptists II v Sedlescombe Rangers II; Grasshoppers Old Boys v Magham Down; Little Common III v Bexhill Rovers 1.30.
Division 6: Hampden Park Utd v FC Westridge; Orington II v Hawkhurst Utd II; Sedlescombe Rangers III v Catsfield II.
Sussex Junior Cup, 2nd round (1.30): Hollington Utd II v Frant.
Robertsbridge Charity Intermediate Cup, 1st round: Bexhill Utd II v Rock-a-Nore; Westfield II v Sandhurst 1.30.
Robertsbridge Charity Junior Cup (1.30), 1st round: Sandhurst II v Ninfield Utd II. 2nd round: FC Bexhill v Rock-a-Nore II; Mountfield Utd v Orington; Northiam 75 v West Hill Utd; Peasmarsh Utd v JC Tackleway II; Westfield III v Ticehurst II; Wittersham II v Robertsbridge Utd II.