Hastings getting better by the week - but Sevenoaks and Burgess Hill will test them

Hastings United manager Chris Agutter says his side’s improving performances have set them up nicely for a tough Isthmian League week on the road.

Sam Hasler scores his second for Hastings at Harefield as United's form continues to improve / Picture: Scott White
Sam Hasler scores his second for Hastings at Harefield as United's form continues to improve / Picture: Scott White

United go to Sevenoaks on Saturday and play their second Sussex derby of the season at Burgess Hill on Tuesday – all off the back of an easy 4-0 FA Cup win at Harefield last weekend.

After a slightly sluggish start to the season Hastings seem to have clicked into gear and Agutter is content with progress, though he is expecting two stiff tests in the days to come.

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“Both games will be tough,” he said. “Sevenoaks is one of the three most difficult away games of the season. They play on a tight 3G pitch, which I hate, although we do tend to play well against them and have a good record there.

“Then we go to Burgess Hill, who have had a horrible start in the league but like us are still in the FA Cup.

“Like any derby it will be blood, sweat and tears and it will come down to who wins the battle. We also have a really good record against them but will need to be at it.”

United go into their week on the road in tenth spot in the Isthmian south east division having won one, drawn one and lost one in the league so far.

But in the FA Cup the Us have so far swept all before them, with Saturday’s win at Harefield, thanks to doubles by Ben Pope and Sam Hasler, a straightforward victory.

Agutter’s men will visit Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division side Broadfields United in the second qualifying round tomorrow week.

The manager said: “At Harefield the game was done by half-time. We could have been more ruthless and got seven or eight.

“It would be nice to go deep in the competition – we’ve flirted with it in recent years.”

Agutter praised the contributions of two-goal midfielder Hasler and returning forward Lanre Azeez in the Cup tie. “Sam’s playing really well – it’s not so much his goals, it’s his second ball, the ugly stuff – he’s been a real dog off the ball.

“And it’s great having Lanre back. He’s direct, a real goal threat, but works as hard coming back as he does going forward.”