Hastings United assistant manager Chris Agutter is convinced the football club will come good in time.
A 4-2 defeat at home to Herne Bay on Tuesday night has left Hastings winless in five matches and frustration seems to be growing among supporters.
But Agutter said: “When I look at this as a project, it’s 100 percent a project that can be successful. It will work; I’ve got no doubts about that at all.”
Agutter echoed the comments of club director Dave Nessling last week for supporters to remain patient as the club seeks to build a younger, more locally-based team.
He said: “Adam (Hinshelwood, manager) has come in on a three-year contract and the club’s very keen to move in a different direction. For the past four or five years there’s been massive wages paid to players from Kent, London, West Sussex and ultimately it’s failed.
“The location means it’s very difficult to attract players from further afield unless you’re paying them stupid money. We want to produce young, homegrown players that have an affinity with the club rather than bringing in journeymen who don’t have any loyalty to the club.
“We want to produce our own players and ultimately that takes time. If we give these lads the opportunity and experience, they will come through for us.
“Do supporters want to see players who are here for the money and who have got no affinity for the club or do they want to see more players like Sam Adams - what I would call Hastings players who wear the badge with pride?
“If I was a fan I would much rather see young players who love the club playing for the shirt and not the pay cheque. I’m 100 percent on board with that.”
Those sentiments certainly make sense, but supporters still want to see results and the club challenging for promotion from Bostik League Division One South - and Agutter is no different.
“Hastings United is a club which should be nowhere near Bostik South,” continued Agutter. “Hastings United should be thinking about promotion all the time they’re not in National League South. The way we’re aiming to go about that is slightly different to what they’ve done previously.”
Although wanting to seeing players playing for the shirt, Agutter was critical of the team’s workrate as a 2-0 lead turned into a 4-2 defeat against an impressive Herne Bay side which deservedly won the game.
“To have lost that game was really disappointing,” he went on. “We never got to grips with their two wide players, we didn’t stop their main threat.
“We pride ourselves on being tactically clued up and we’re very thorough in our preparation, but the foundation of all that is hard work. One of the big things is the work ethic and workrate, and I think it was lacking at times on Tuesday night.
“If you’re going to lose, there’s a way to lose. If the fans see 11 players giving everything for the shirt that will be accepted. Unfortunately, if you said to me ‘did everyone give 100 percent in terms of applying themselves’? I think that was lacking in some departments which, if I’m honest, is inexcusable.”
Hastings could really do with a result when they travel to Molesey tomorrow (Saturday). Sam Beale is considered touch and go to return from injury, Tom Vickers is likely to be sidelined for 10 days to two weeks and Simon Johnson four to six weeks.
The scheduled game at home to Horsham next Tuesday night has been postponed as Horsham have a league cup game. It’s been rearranged for Tuesday October 17.
* HASTINGS United will host Abbey Rangers in FA Youth Cup first round qualifying tonight (Friday), kick-off 7.45pm.
The development squad, meanwhile, will entertain Whyteleafe in the Bostik Development South on Monday night.