Hastings United chairman Dave Nessling is in optimistic mood as the football club prepares to kick-off the new season.
Hastings will begin their Bostik League South East Division campaign at home to Thamesmead Town this coming Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Nessling said: “I am optimistic. I look at the league and think we’ve got a good chance in there, although reading over the last few weeks there’s a number of teams that seem to be strengthening. Providing we can stay fairly clear of injury, I think we’ve got a good chance.”
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Following FA restructuring over the summer, Hastings are now in a 20-team division and will play eight less games than last season. Only the champions will earn automatic promotion, with the next four teams going into the play-offs.
“Without being rude, this division has become a glorified Southern Combination (League) Premier,” continued Nessling. “A lot of good clubs have gone out of it and you’ve got a lot more clubs going in from the lower level.
“It’s important to try and win the division to be honest. But until you get into the season you just don’t know what the others are going to be producing.”
Hastings, who finished ninth in Division One South last term, have played a number of friendlies in preparation for the league campaign.
“I’m quite encouraged by what I’ve seen pre-season,” added Nessling, who admitted the serious injury to last season’s leading scorer Davide Rodari came as a ‘bombshell’. “We’ve got a good young manager who’s added to the athletic players we’ve had.
“I think it’s a bigger squad with a lot of athleticism. We’ve brought in a bigger centre-half to go with Sinnkaye (Christie) which is good and in the positions he wanted to strengthen, apart from centre-forward, he has strengthened.
“We’ve got two experienced players in the middle of midfield, which is good, we’ve got a very solid goalkeeper, and we’ve got an enigma or a surprise package in Dayshonne Golding.
“I’m looking forward to it. It comes round very, very quick.”
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