Hastings United Football Club will head to high-riding Hythe Town today (Saturday) in confident mood.
Hastings manager Chris Agutter will take his side to sixth-placed Hythe - who Sam Adams and Kenny Pogue left to rejoin Hastings earlier this season - unbeaten in their last seven Bostik League Division One South games and up to 13th in the table.
He said: “We go to Hythe obviously respecting what they can do, but with no fear. If we’re at it, I think we will beat them.
“There’s a real belief in what we’re doing. Now we’ve got towards my preference in terms of how I want the team to look over the duration of my time at Hastings, the players are enjoying their football and what we’re doing.
“I think the players deserve a huge amount of credit for embracing the change and performing the way they have over the last six weeks.”
With Tom Climpson back, and Sam Beale and Tom Vickers fit, Agutter says that for the first time in a long time, he faces some genuine selection dilemmas. Rhys Whyborne is still injured, however, and Jack Dixon is likely to be out for 10 days to two weeks with a groin problem.
Agutter said he wouldn’t be too worried if there was no further transfer activity for the time being and doesn’t want to bring players in that he will release at the end of the season as he builds for the long term.
With only one midweek game - a Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup third round tie at home to Crawley Town on Tuesday December 12 - scheduled before Christmas, Agutter believes the additional training time available will be beneficial to the squad.
Hastings are training on Tuesday and Thursday nights, with an optional additional training session on Wednesday nights, for which there has been a big uptake from the players.
“If we can work harder than every other team in the league, I think we can make a huge amount of progress, not just as a team, but individually as well,” Agutter said.