The U’s visit Corinthian Casuals tomorrow (Saturday) and then the action gets underway for real the following weekend.
“We’re a little bit behind,” said the Hastings manager. “I wish we had another couple of weeks before the season but we are where we are and we’ll get on with it.”
Hastings’ preparations have been hampered by injury. Highly-rated new signing Jack Walder is returning after a year out, Wes Tate, another summer arrival, has only just made his first appearance since breaking a toe, and a number of other players including Josh Jirbandey, Lee Carey, George Jones and Jamie Crellin have suffered various knocks.
Midfielder Matt Hall is back from his second holiday in pre-season while Rhys Whyborne is not available until the second week of the campaign.
Walder, Tate, Carey, Hall, Jones and Jirbandey all played in the 2-0 defeat against Whitehawk at The Pilot Field on Tuesday night, as did Jack Dixon, who had been at the centre at a tug-of-war between Hastings and Sussex County League Rye United.
Dixon made his name as a ball-playing midfielder but during pre-season has been operating at right back for Hastings. “We’ve offered a contract to Jack and hopefully he will sign it,” said Hopkinson who believes the 20-year-old could go on to play at a higher level.
The goalkeeping situation has been sorted out with Lloyd Anderson appearing between the posts against former club Whitehawk and Folkestone Invicta, who Hastings beat 3-2 on Saturday with goals from Carey (penalty), Fred Foreman and Dan Bolwell.
See today’s Hastings Observer for the full article.