Hastings strike ace hit by major injury blow

Davide Rodari celebrates after scoring against South Park in the final week of last season. Picture courtesy Scott White
Davide Rodari celebrates after scoring against South Park in the final week of last season. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hastings United Football Club’s leading scorer from last season is facing a long spell on the sidelines with a serious injury.

Davide Rodari, who enjoyed a strong second half to the 2017/18 campaign, has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

Hastings manager Chris Agutter said: “He did it towards the end of last season, but was diagnosed last week.

“He’s been in full training and it’s been more irritating than agony, but he got checked out and it turns out he’s ruptured his ACL, is looking at an operation and perhaps an 8-12 month lay-off.

“I was expecting him to have a strong season. He was building an awful lot of momentum as an individual and there was an awful lot of interest in Davide. No one deserves that injury, but if anyone least deserves it, it’s him because he works so hard.

“Anyone else with a weaker mentality might cave, but Davide got the news and went to the gym straight after. His mentality is incredibly strong.”

Agutter says he is in no rush to find a replacement. He says Daniel Ajakaiye was always his first choice centre-forward and there are three or four alternatives.

“We’ll look at what we’ve got in house before we think too much about bringing anyone in,” he continued. “We are looking, but I’m not going to bring someone in for the sake of it. We need to work in a way where we get the best out of the players we’ve got.

“We’ve got goals all over the pitch and scoring goals has never been the problem; it’s always been keeping clean sheets.”

Hastings will continue their friendlies by travelling to Walton Casuals tomorrow (Saturday, 1pm kick-off) before hosting Eastbourne United AFC on Monday (kick-off 7.45pm) and visiting Eastbourne Town on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm).

“For me it’s all about learning and being in a more knowledgeable position than we were the game before,” said Agutter. “As long as we get some sort of answers out of the game, that’s the main thing.

“We’ve got a lot of game time into the players, which is great. In all our games we’ve come on very strong. We look very fit and look match fit.

“Saturday will look a lot more like I would imagine us to look on the first game of the season against Thamesmead. It’s perhaps turning towards building good pairings and relationships, getting the right balance and the right relationships in the starting XI, cementing down pairings and how we want to look for Thamesmead.”

See also: * We’ve done really well, says Hastings boss
* Hastings handed home start to new season

Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)