Chris Agutter says his life has been geared towards becoming a manager after taking over the reins at Hastings United Football Club.
Agutter was promoted from assistant manager after previous boss Adam Hinshelwood left to become manager of his former club, Worthing, last weekend.
He said: “My whole life has been geared towards becoming a manager. That’s been my ambition. I’ve always wanted to do something in the game as a manager.
“I’ve coached for 15 years now and what I think maybe people don’t realise is I was assistant manager in National League South (at Eastbourne Borough).
“I’ve always been very much at the sharp end of it for the past five or six years and for a few of those years at a better level than this where the pressure is higher.
“I’ve had a very good apprenticeship for the last 15 years and I think I’ve been ready to be a manager for two or three years now. Things like dealing with senior players and budgets I’ve been doing for a while.”
Expectation levels at Hastings are high, with many people, including Agutter, believing the club should be playing at a higher level than Bostik League Division One South, but the new boss says that won’t faze him.
“When people talk about the expectations at Hastings United, that’s obvious to me,” continued Agutter. “But I embrace those expectations and there’s no bigger expectation than the one I put on myself.
“I’m not interested in dampening any expectations and I’m going to do my very best to help the club achieve those well-documented expectations.
“I understand Hastings United needs success and I want to be successful. I wouldn’t put myself in a situation where I can’t be successful and when I was offered the job there was no negotiations there. It’s a building process, but I need success in the short term, which is quite right.”
Although Agutter’s first game in charge ended in a 4-3 defeat at Molesey on Saturday, he described the performance as ‘a massive step in the right direction’.
“It was a lot more of a Hastings-type performance,” he went on. “That work ethic and mentality were definitely there. There was a real spirit amongst the group, we rolled our sleeves up and had a real go.
“If we play like that more often than not, we will beat most teams in this league from what I’ve seen. But every goal we conceded was off the back of one playing making a glaring error.”
Hastings now face two games in four days against teams in the top seven. An away match against Walton Casuals today (Saturday, kick-off 3pm) will be followed by a visit from Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.
“Every game is going to be tough, but we should have enough firepower to deal with most opponents,” added Agutter, who watched Walton on Tuesday night.
“We’ve got to be confident in what we can do. If they (the players) do the ugly things well, roll their sleeves up and represent the shirt in the right way, with the ability we’ve got with a settled side, I think we can compete with anybody in the league.”
Tom Vickers trained on Tuesday night after injury and at a push could be fit for today’s match.