Ex-Brighton & Hove Albion ace in line to make Hastings United debut

Gary Elphick during his time as Worthing manager. Picture courtesy Stephen Goodger
Gary Elphick during his time as Worthing manager. Picture courtesy Stephen Goodger

Gary Elphick is expected to go straight into Hastings United Football Club’s starting line-up for an important game today (Saturday).

The former Brighton & Hove Albion defender, who signed for Hastings this week, is set to make his debut away to VCD Athletic in the Bostik League South East Division.

After last weekend’s unfortunate 4-2 defeat at home to Haywards Heath Town, Hastings now occupy the final play-off spot of fifth and are nine points ahead of seventh-placed VCD having played two more matches.

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“It’s a big game,” said Hastings manager Chris Agutter. “I won’t go as far as to say it’s a must-win game, but it’s important, they’re all important now.

“Having watched Saturday’s game back, we lost the game because of individual mistakes. Young players make mistakes, but the beauty of Hastings is they’re given the opportunity to make those mistakes.

“We’re taking plenty of positives from that game. That’s the most dominant game of football I’ve seen during my time at Hastings and even as an assistant manager at Eastbourne Borough. If we can take that level of performance to VCD, we will win.

“With the addition of Gary, that will help the younger players not to make those mistakes and stay switched on. We’re very confident and we’re very happy with where we’re at.”

Jahmal Howlett-Mundle has one more game to run on his suspension, but Agutter is hopeful that Ollie Black will have shaken off a back injury.

Sam Beale isn’t fit to start, but could make the bench. Davide Rodari is likely to be in the squad assuming he came through Thursday night’s under-23 match unscathed.

Bostik League South East Division top half (played-points): 1 Cray Wanderers 27-68 (+39 goal difference), 2 Horsham 28-55 (+22), 3 Haywards Heath Town 28-52 (+17), 4 Ashford United 27-51 (+28), 5 HASTINGS UNITED 28-50 (+20), 6 Whyteleafe 27-41 (+11), 7 VCD Athletic 26-41 (+3), 8 Hythe Town 28-40 (+6), 9 Ramsgate 28-36 (+5), 10 Phoenix Sports 27-35 (-4).