New faces likely at Pilot Field

Dom Di Paola will take charge of Hastings United for the first time this afternoon when the U's entertain Guernsey

Dom Di Paola will take charge of Hastings United for the first time this afternoon when the U's entertain Guernsey

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Dom Di Paola says there may well be new players arriving at Hastings United, but doesn’t want to make wholesale changes.

The appointment of a new manager invariably leads to a few comings and goings, and that looks likely to be the case at The Pilot Field over the coming days.

He said: “There might be one or two that we can bring in to give something that the team’s missing. There’s a few in our team who I’m hoping will potentially come over at some stage and add to what they’ve got down there. I know I can rely on

those boys and I know they can play Ryman South comfortably.

“But I don’t really want to make wholesale changes because it’s like starting pre-season again. There’s loads of talent among the players that are down there. It’s the most talented and skilful group of players that I’ve worked with, and hopefully we can get them enjoying their football.”

Di Paola confirmed that no new players had signed as of Wednesday lunchtime, but said there potentially could be new faces in the squad which hosts Guernsey today (Saturday).

The new boss confirmed attacking midfielder Dave Cook, who only joined United in the summer, left the club just before his appointment and fears “one or two of the squad players” may also depart.

Although his previous club was in the west of the county and he only took charge of his first training session on Monday, Di Paola has a pretty decent knowledge of the existing squad.

“I watch lots of Sussex teams and I’ve seen Hastings three times this season,” he continued. “Most of the boys I’ve seen a bit. Most of them I know of as footballers.

“At training on Monday the attitude was great, but the real test is going to be against Guernsey, who are a better side now than they were at the beginning of the season.”

Di Paola added that he and the other three members of his management team complement each other well, and likes his teams to play good football.

“I want us to play football,” said Di Paola, who has done his coaching badges but considers his strengths as a manager lie in other areas. “I’m a football fan, I love the game and I hate watching poor football.

“I try to get the best out of people, and try and have a bit of understanding with players. I’m quite interested in the tactical side of the game and I’m really big on scouting the opposition, putting a bit of time into preparing the side so we have an edge over other teams. I’m very determined and put a lot of time into it.”

TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

(Kick-off 3pm unless stated)

Ryman League, Division 1 South: Hastings Utd v Guernsey.

Macron Store Sussex County League, Division 2: Bexhill Utd v Oakwood; Little Common v Rustington; Mile Oak v Westfield.

Reserve Section (East): Burgess Hill & Hurst Albion v Little Common.

Sussex County FA Intermediate Cup, 2nd round (2.30): Montpelier Villa v St Leonards Social; Peche Hill Select v Hassocks II; Rustington II v Ore Athletic; Westfield II v AFC Roffey Club.

East Sussex League, Premier Division: Iden v Battle Baptists; Robertsbridge Utd v Rock-a-Nore; Sedlescombe Rangers v Ninfield Utd.

Division 1: Hollington Utd II v Icklesham Casuals; Sandhurst v Little Chelsea; Sidley Utd v Wadhurst Utd.

Division 2: Crowhurst v Eastbourne Rangers; Herstmonceux v Wittersham; Old Hastonians v JC Tackleway.

Division 3: AFC Hastings v Peche Hill Select II; Bexhill-On-Sea v Ninfield Utd II; Eastbourne Athletic v Visick; Hastings Rangers v Hooe Sports.

Division 4: Bexhill AAC II v Bexhill Rovers; Little Common III v Conquest Utd 1.30.

Division 5: Hailsham Athletico v Sedlescombe Rangers II; JC Tackleway II v Victoria Baptists.

Division 6: Battle Baptists III v Hampden Park Utd; FC Westridge v Hawkhurst Utd II; Punnetts Town II v Sedlescombe Rangers III.

Robertsbridge Junior Cup, 1st round (2.30): Battle Baptists II v Herstmonceux II; Bexhill Utd III v Bexhill AAC; Hawkhurst Utd v Burwash; Icklesham Casuals II v Peasmarsh Utd; Northiam 75 v Orington; Pebsham Sibex v West Hill Utd; Rock-a-Nore II v Robertsbridge Utd II; St Leonards Social II v Sandhurst II; Ticehurst II v Mountfield Utd; Wittersham II v Westfield III.