Hastings boss targets three key additions

Hastings United Football Club manager Chris Agutter has outlined his intended summer shopping list as he plots what he hopes will be a promotion push next season.

Davide Rodari on the attack during Hastings United's 2-1 defeat at home to Sittingbourne last weekend. Picture courtesy Scott White

Agutter is hoping to strengthen in three key areas as he seeks to move the club forward from its final 2017/18 position of ninth in Bostik League Division One South.

He said: “We need an experienced centre-back - a leader, an organiser - an established winger - not a gamble - who you know will win games from wide areas - whether that be the final ball or chipping in with goals - and a 30-plus-goals-a-season centre-forward.

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“I know who I want to sign because I’ve been doing my due diligence since I took over really. Over my time in charge I’ve probably watched 40 or 50 games, on top of our own, where we’ve been looking at other players.

“It’s now a question of whether or not we can tie those players down. I’ve made it clear to my bosses and the board what I think we need, so (it’s) over to them really.

“I’m lucky that there’s a good dialogue between us (him and the board). More often than not I’m talking to the board every day; it’s just really dotting the Is and crossing the Ts.”

Antonio Walker has this week agreed a contract for next season, meaning half-a-dozen of the existing players have already committed for 2018/19. Talks are also at an advanced stage with Sinnkaye Christie.

“In an ideal world we keep 15 of the current squad because we’ve done well, but it all depends on the hand I’m dealt,” continued Agutter. “I’m hoping to get confirmation as to what I can and can’t do very soon.

“What I don’t want to do is compromise the stability of the club. It’s (about) making sure whatever we do is sustainable and considered. We can’t just start throwing stupid money at players.”

After a turbulent first few months of this season, which included the departure of previous manager Adam Hinshelwood to Worthing, Hastings made good progress with a promising young squad.

“It’s a statistical fact that we would’ve been in the play-offs had the season started when I took over (in late September),” Agutter added.

“I think it’s been a step in the right direction, albeit there’s lots of frustrations there because we could’ve taken more steps in the right direction.

“I’m ambitious. I’m not interested in competing for play-offs; I want to get titles on my CV.

“I think we’re a good side and not far away, but there will be 19 other teams in the league that will strengthen and we need to be ahead of the curve.”

* HASTINGS United Football Club has announced its season ticket pricing and early purchase offers for 2018/19.

Season tickets are priced at £150 for adults - or £135 if purchased before June 1 - and £100 for concessions - or £90 if purchased by June 1.

All on-the-day admission prices will remain as for the 2017/18 season. Under-16s will continue to be admitted free.

Season tickets can be purchased via secretary Tony Cosens through his office at The Pilot Field on weekdays from 9.30am-12.30pm, by calling 01424 444635 during the same hours or email [email protected]