United snap up midfielder

Hastings United’s squad for the forthcoming season is taking shape with the latest addition being 19-year-old midfielder Jamie Crellin.

Jason Hopkinson swooped for the former Lewes player in the wake of Tim Olorunda’s departure to Tonbridge Angels.

“He’s big and strong and a more than adequate replacement for Tim,” said the Hastings manager. “He came through the Brighton Academy system. He was there from the age of nine through to 16 and then came to play for me at Lewes.”

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Hopkinson also revealed that central defender and player of the year Josh Jirbandey had signed on at pre-season training on Wednesday night.

He will be joined in the squad by local goalkeeper Josh Willis but it would appear that fellow stopper Seb Barton will not be returning.

“I’m hearing he might be moving down to the West Country,” Hopkinson said. “Seb did well for us last season but it looks like he’s moved on.”

There is a doubt over midfielder Russell Eldridge who has had “a couple of sniffs from elsewhere”, while Jimmy Elford is expected to join training next week.

Experienced full-back Elford was a regular in the team until he suffered concussion in the match against Concord Rangers at the end of November last year, and then dropped off the radar.

Hopkinson, who was joined at training by assistant Adam Hinshelwood and newly-installed assistant coach Mark Stapley, ran the rule over five triallists in midweek and is expecting to take a look at an additional five next week.