‘More signings still needed’

Hastings United physio Dane Martin tends to Ade Olorunda during the FA Trophy defeat away to Cray Wanderers on Sunday. Picture courtesy Joe Knight
Hastings United physio Dane Martin tends to Ade Olorunda during the FA Trophy defeat away to Cray Wanderers on Sunday. Picture courtesy Joe Knight

Hastings United manager Dom Di Paola still intends to bring more players to the football club even after another two additions this week.

The arrival of former East Preston duo Charlie Farmer and Joe Shelley means that Di Paola has now signed five players since his appointment earlier in the month.

But the departure of midfielder Olalekan Bankole takes the number of players who have left the club in October to the same figure so Di Paola says reinforcements are still needed.

He said: “We’re only where we were two weeks before I took over. We’ve got to build the squad up so that we can have some flexibility. At the moment we have to play the same way every game.

“Hopefully if we can sign some numbers to make it a bit more of a squad we can rotate things and make people think about their position in the side. At the moment they can play as badly as they like and they’re still in the side the following week.”

Prior to the arrival of Farmer and Shelley, United named just three substitutes for their FA Trophy preliminary round defeat away to Cray Wanderers on Sunday.

“I’ve been talking to players this week and I’m hopeful there will be more (recruits),” continued Di Paola, who is pleased not to have any injury problems at present. “We were looking at five or six and that hasn’t changed. I’ve got to get the squad up to about 17, 18.

“Hopefully a couple of attacking options are coming in, but we’re looking everywhere apart from in goal.”

Farmer is a versatile 24-year-old defender who turned out for Worthing, Eastbourne Town, Redhill and Horsham prior to East Preston. Shelley, 32, is a freescoring midfielder who has also played for Di Paola at Worthing United and Clymping.

“Charlie’s got a good degree of experience and can play all the way across the back four,” Di Paola went on. “We need players who can play in a number of positions and we need competition for places.

“Joe’s a very good player, always done very well for us. He’s not gone higher probably through choice because he’s been offered numerous opportunities down the years. He’s a box-to-box player and we need more players who can run, who are athletic.”

Farmer and Shelley are expected to go straight into the squad for the trip to Whyteleafe tomorrow (Saturday), while Tom Vickers is set to spend another fortnight or so on loan at Ringmer as he steps up his recovery from a long-term injury lay-off.

“He’s been out for quite a long time and he needs to be confident in himself,” added Di Paola. “He needs to get himself match-fit and he’ll be a real asset to us.”