Breaking news: United sign ex-Gillingham defender

Hastings United have signed Callum Emptage from East Grinstead Town.

Hastings United have signed Callum Emptage from East Grinstead Town.

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Hastings United Football Club has completed the signing of Callum Emptage from East Grinstead Town.

The 20-year-old is a former Gillingham young professional who can play in either full-back role, as a right-sided centre-back and a holding midfielder.

United manager Darren Hare is delighted to rekindle the development role and relationship he has had with Emptage since he was an eight-year-old at Gillingham.

Hare said: "I’ve known Callum a long time and he has had a great upbringing. I toyed with the prospect of bringing him in pre-season, but I went for other targets, so I am now delighted he has agreed to come to us.

"He is versatile and has the sort of character I want to help propel forwards at this football club. Hopefully he will be able to progress playing with the experience we have here now."

Emptage arrives at a time when United are struggling with injury problems, particularly at the back. Four defenders were forced to sit out the weekend draw at Horsham.

"We needed to strengthen our numbers in the squad, but I have to say the youngsters have done the club proud so far," continued Hare.

"Tom Climpson has been fantastic and I believe he had his best performance on Saturday. However, he is still very young and he knows that I will manage his minutes in the first team to maximise his potential."

On the subject of injuries, Sam Cole has had an MRI scan on his knee and early indications are that he may need surgery. The club is helping to arrange for him to see a surgeon to clarify the extent of the damage to his ACL and cartilage.

Stephen Butcher is still two weeks from fitness, while Steve Watt also remains hopeful of a return to training before the Christmas period.

As previously reported, United are away to Faversham Town in Ryman Football League Division One South tonight (Tuesday).

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