Sean Ray says the relegation scrap at home to Thurrock today (Saturday) is a game Hastings United must win.
Third-bottom United haven’t achieved a Ryman Football League Premier Division victory since November 6 and there would be no better time to end that barren run than against second-bottom Thurrock.
United player-manager Ray said: “It’s a game that I feel we have to win now. If we’re lose on Saturday we’re going to have it all to do. We’ve got to keep them below us and start reeling in the teams above us.”
The U’s earned a 1-1 draw in December’s reverse fixture, a highly commendable result given that it came less than 48 hours after the FA Cup penalty shoot-out victory over Harrogate Town.
“It was a good point,” continued Ray. “They’ve got one or two good individuals in their side, but there was nothing there that worried me.”
Although United have played 15 cup matches this season, they have remarkably contested five more league games than Thurrock.
The Essex club hasn’t played 90 minutes since January 15. Five of Thurrock’s last six scheduled games have been postponed, including Tuesday night’s trip to Lowestoft Town which succumbed to snow, and the other was abandoned at half time. They trail United by two points.
Tom Vickers is now fully fit, but Bradley Goldberg (ankle) and Jack Dixon (knee) are likely to be out for a couple of weeks, and Matt Armstrong-Ford (knee) is around three weeks from fitness.
TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (3PM UNLESS STATED)
Ryman League, Premier Division: Hastings Utd v Thurrock.
Sussex County League, Division 1: Horsham YMCA v Sidley Utd; Lingfield v Rye Utd.
Division 2: Seaford Town v Bexhill Utd; Steyning Town v Little Common; Westfield v Storrington 2.