Agutter focusing primarily on performances

Hastings United midfielder Ansu Janneh tussles with a Hassocks opponent at The Pilot Field on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White
Hastings United midfielder Ansu Janneh tussles with a Hassocks opponent at The Pilot Field on Tuesday night. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club will be eager to make the most of a favourable-looking run of fixtures this month.

Six of United’s seven scheduled Bostik Football League Division One South matches during November are against teams in the bottom half of the table.

The first of them is a trip to bottom club Shoreham today (Saturday, kick-off 3pm) and Hastings, who are 17th in the standings with 15 points from 14 fixtures, will be targeting a first win in four league games.

Hastings manager Chris Agutter said: “At the minute if I’m being brutally honest we need to concentrate primarily on performances.

“The club have given me the remit of becoming a team that’s capable of winning promotion next season. I need to keep my eye on the bigger picture all the time.

“As long as there’s progress, both individually and as a team, that’s the most important thing. If the players continue to develop, the results will come.”

Agutter says he has seen ‘massive progress’ from his team over the past two games.

Hastings lost 4-3 at home to Ashford Town (Middx) in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday before winning 3-1 against Hassocks in the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday.

“I just think we looked far more dynamic, far more mobile, and a lot more energetic and enthusiastic,” said Agutter, Hastings’ manager.

“Still naive with obviously what happened on Saturday (conceding a 94th minute winner immediately after equalising). Ultimately with younger players you’re going to get that, but they will be better for it.

“The first half on Tuesday we looked a team lacking in confidence, playing sideways, backwards and slow. We had lots of the ball, but we looked edgy, which is understandable.

“But second half, after a few conversations at half time, we looked a lot more free, more fluid and the tempo was a lot higher. We played with a lot more risk and were a bit more creative, but the main difference was the tempo was a lot higher.

“We’re now looking to be a bit more expansive and a bit more exciting to watch, and the players are again taking that on board.”

Agutter praised the performances of Sam Cruttwell in the last two games and said Ansu Janneh’s display against Ashford was the best from a Hastings midfielder this season, apart from Tom Vickers against Ramsgate.

Of Janneh, Agutter said: “He’s going to become one hell of a player. He can do things which not a lot of players can do. Technically he’s really good, he goes past people and with time and more experience, he will go on to be one of the best midfielders in the league.”

Agutter is hoping Sam Beale will shake off a hamstring problem in time for today’s game, while Sam Adams and Jack Dixon should be back after missing the Hassocks match.