Darren Hare championed the goalscoring potential of his Hastings United team on the eve of the new season.
United’s boss is convinced the attacking players in his squad will cause problems for opposing defences during the 2016/17 Ryman Football League Division One South campaign.
“I think going forward we’ve got a lot of quality,” said United manager Hare. “We’ve got a lot of experience and youthful exuberance, and we will cause teams problems without a shadow a doubt.
“Defensively we’re yet to be 100 percent tested. There’s going to be times when we get stretched and it’s going to be important how we manage the counter-attack because at home teams will sit deep and try to hit us on the break.”
United netted 15 goals in their final three pre-season friendlies, the last of which was a 3-2 win at home to higher grade Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday.
Matt Bodkin opened the scoring and a Jack Harris double put United three-up at half time before the visitors pulled a couple of goals back during the second period.
“I thought we played well, especially first half,” Hare continued. “We did drop away a bit in the first part of the second half, but on the whole really pleased.”
United’s pre-season form has been pretty impressive, but Hare believes they should be judged after 10 league games as you can’t tell too much from pre-season.
Asked what qualities United will need to show if they are to win promotion, Hare said: “We’ve got to be organised defensively and we’ve got to be able to shut up shop. If we do get ourselves in front and we need to whether a storm, we need to be able to cope with that.
“We’ve got to take our chances, and try to stay injury-free and suspension-free. I had a good chat with the boys about discipline; we’ve got to be very, very careful about how we carry ourselves on the pitch.”
Hare added that United’s competition for places means that his decision on the make up of his midfield for the visit from South Park this coming Saturday hadn’t quite been made as of the middle of this week.
He also said that he will be flexible with the team’s formation depending on conditions and availability, and that players are more important than systems.
The club said it is delighted to see a number of players from the under-21 development and under-19 academy squads graduate to first team action, which shows terrific progress has been made during the past year in terms of the club’s stated intention to develop its own young players.
Hastings United squad - Goalkeepers: Lenny Pidgeley (coach), Ryan Nicholls, Dan Rose (from under-19 academy). Defenders: Richard Davies, Ollie Rowe, Steve Watt (assistant manager), Jerome Smith, Reece Butler, Johnny Akoto (from development squad), Richie Welch (from development squad), Ollie Black (from under-19 academy). Midfielders: Matt Bodkin, Wayne Wilson, Sam Cruttwell, Simon Johnson, Sam Cole, Chris Cumming-Bart, Liam Foster (from under-19 academy), Kyle Holden (from under-19 academy), Bradley Pritchard (from under-19 academy). Strikers: Frannie Collin, Jack Harris, Harry Stannard, Bright Temba.
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