Terry White is wasting no time in trying to put the building blocks in place for what he hopes will be a promotion-winning squad for next season.
The Hastings United manager has been backed to lead the club back into the Ryman Football League Premier Division after taking over the reins in the second half of what was an ultimately disappointing 2013/14 campaign.
White has already earmarked the players he wants to strengthen a squad which suffered an agonising defeat at the hands of Folkestone Invicta in the Division One South play-offs last week.
“Once the ref blew the final whistle at Folkestone, I was already planning for next season,” he said. “We can’t sign anyone until July 1 and a lot can happen between now and then but you hope if you shake hands that will be enough.
“I’ve already spoken to virtually every member of last season’s squad and I’ve spoken to three or four high-end Ryman players I would like to bring in,” he went on. “We’re going to go for it next year.”
Midfielder Tim Olorunda and striker Kenny Pogue have “indicated they are going to stay”, while “fresh offers” have been made to goalkeeper and player of the year Josh Pelling and Tom Vickers.
“We’re relatively confident they will stay,” said White, who is also keen to retain the services of among others Sam Adams, Matt Darby, Frankie Sawyer and Taser Hassan.
Although Hastings were excellent away to Folkestone last week, it was a performance out of keeping with much of the season.
The managerial changes failed to do the trick and White said: “I’ve spoken with the chairman about the need for players to hear the same voice for a while rather than the chopping and changing but of course it all depends on results.”
United director Simon Rudkins said: “Terry has been on the ball right from the end of the season. Progress is well under way with regards to getting the team sorted out.”
The U’s certainly wouldn’t appear to be hanging about with Rudkins admitting: “In the past we have left it too late. We are as keen as everyone to make sure next season is definitely a memorable one for the club.”
It is also hoped that White’s backroom team of Ben White, Nigel Kane, Mark Stapley and John Masters will remain in place. Hastings United Supporters’ Club will be holding its AGM at The Pilot Field on Thursday, starting at 8pm.