United boss expects a reaction

Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray
Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray

Sean Ray is expecting a reaction from every one of his players when they turn their attention to the magic of the FA Cup today (Saturday).

Hastings United will visit higher grade Staines Town in second round qualifying with the winners pocketing a tidy £4,500.

Neither side goes into the tie in the best of form with Town having lost their last three games in Blue Square Bet South and the U’s becoming the first side to taste defeat against Ryman Premier newboys Leiston last weekend.

Ray was far from happy with the manner of defeat in deepest Suffolk and admitted: “I’m definitely expecting a reaction from every single player in the squad.”

The player-boss also felt he made mistakes with his team selection by sticking with the players that won against Chatham Town in the FA Cup the previous week. This meant key defender Josh Jirbandey had to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench.

Looking ahead to the tie, Ray went on: “Sometimes when you’ve lost a league game the FA Cup can be a nice distraction. They are a league above us and it will be a tough game but it is winnable.

“If we can apply ourselves then I fancy us. The pressure is off because they are the higher grade side and they’re expected to win.”

Striker Zac Attwood is rated as having a 60-70 per cent chance of being fit. Tom Vickers, Scott Manning and Bailo Camara are all expected to return.

TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (ALL 3PM)

FA Cup, 2nd round qualifying: Staines Town v Hastings Utd.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Chichester City v Sidley Utd; Hassocks v Rye Utd.

Division 2: Bexhill Utd v Storrington; Westfield v Wick.

Sussex RUR Charity Cup, 1st round: Little Common v Steyning Town.