United boss expects tough game

Hastings United manager Jason Hopkinson
Hastings United manager Jason Hopkinson
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Hastings United manager Jason Hopkinson is expecting a tough game when Margate roll into The Pilot Field today (Saturday).

The Kent outfit sit just two places above The U’s but - unlike their hosts - they are well adrift of the Ryman Premier relegation zone in terms of points.

Margate are currently looking for a new manager following last month’s departure of Iain O’Connell.

The team will be taken by caretaker boss Kevin Raine, a state of affairs which can sometimes work against the opposition.

Hopkinson said: “It will only be his third or fourth game in charge and I expect him to want to prove a point. It will be a difficult game.”

Despite picking up a very good draw away to Canvey Island in their last match, Hastings have seen their cushion over the best placed of the bottom four teams slashed to three points after Aveley won 3-1 at home to Tooting & Mitcham United on Monday night.

“If you’re at the bottom and relying on other people dropping points then that’s a worry,” Hopkinson continued. “We’ve got to keep coming into games to compete and we’ve got to keep putting in the effort. That’s all the fans want and that’s all I want, and the players are responding.”

Hastings should be confident going into the game after picking up 11 points out of a possible 21. They also haven’t been beaten on a Saturday since losing 1-0 at home to Canvey on January 29. Hopkinson selects from a full strength contingent of 18 players.

TODAY’S SENIOR FOOTBALL FIXTURES (3PM UNLESS STATED)

Ryman League, Premier Division: Hastings Utd v Margate.

Sussex County League, Division 1: Rye Utd v Pagham; Sidley Utd v East Grinstead Town 2.

Division 2: Little Common v Midhurst & Easebourne; Southwick v Westfield; Steyning Town v Bexhill Utd.