Ray impressed by squad fitness

Bradley Goldberg. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

Bradley Goldberg. Picture by Terry S. Blackman

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Sean Ray has been pleasantly surprised by the fitness levels of his players on their return to first team training.

The Hastings United squad reconvened last Thursday after the summer break and has since had sessions on Saturday, Tuesday and last night (Thursday).

“It’s surprising how fit the boys are. You can tell they’ve done bits and pieces during the summer,” said the player-manager. “It’s gone well so far, I’m really optimistic.”

Among those put through their paces was Josh Jirbandey whose departure to the United States has been put on hold until January after he missed the international admissions deadline to study at university in California.

Ray said: “I want to keep JJ and I’m sure JJ wants to stay. We’ll work out a deal with JJ definitely but at the moment I’m just concentrating on pre-season. It’s 99 per cent certain he will be with us for the start of the season.”

Ross Sutton and Nick Gonsalves - two players who were in and out of the side last season - are moving on with the U’s boss revealing they “won’t be with us”.

Ray is keeping a close eye on the playing future of young forward Bradley Goldberg who was due to have a three-day trial with Brighton & Hove Albion. “I spoke to him last week and he’s still keen to stay but we’ll know more after Brighton.”

See today’s Hastings Observer for the full article.