United boss to make changes for home finale

Hastings United Football Club manager Darren Hare is likely to ring the changes for the final game of the regular season.

Saturday, 22nd April 2017, 3:20 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:30 pm
Ollie Rowe scores Hastings United's third equaliser in Monday's 4-4 draw away to Lewes. Picture courtesy Scott White

Hare plans to rest ‘three or four’ of his more experienced players at home to Chipstead this afternoon (Saturday), but says all of the squad will be in attendance to thank the supporters after the game.

United’s manager is determined to get his squad as fit and rested as possible for the Ryman Football League Division One South play-off semi-finals on Tuesday night.

Frannie Collin (hamstring) and Jerrome Sobers (general stiffness) will be rested, and Danny Leonard (dead leg) should be fit, but Stephen Butcher (hamstring) is doubtful for Tuesday.

Kiernan Hughes-Mason celebrates after scoring against Lewes. Picture courtesy Scott White

Young players such as Ollie Black, who came on as a first half substitute during the 4-4 draw away to Lewes on Monday, and Johnny Akoto are in line to start today. Kick-off at The Pilot Field is 3pm.

Hare added that there is a chance Lenny Pidgeley could feature in the play-offs, even though only last week the goalkeeper was facing 6-12 weeks out with a back problem.

United have all but secured their place in the end-of-season shoot-out heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

United occupy the final play-off spot fifth and are three points ahead of sixth-placed Carshalton Athletic with a vastly superior goal difference.

Only a defeat at home to Chipstead and a Carshalton victory over East Grinstead Town, plus a notional 30-goal swing in the goal difference, can deny United a play-off spot.

“The players have been terrific over the last four games (during which time they’ve picked up eight points,” Hare went on. “I’ve got to give them credit even if perhaps the last two games haven’t been at quite the same level.

“Lewes are a decent outfit going forward and it was probably a great game for the fans to watch, not so good for us as managers. All credit to my lads; they kept showing and showed a bit of resilience after going behind three times.

“We had four games in eight days, which is tough on players that are full-time and for us part-time players that’s when injuries occur.”

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