White eyes promotion goal

Hastings United and Walton Casuals will meet at Walton on the opening day of the Ryman Football League Division One South season today
Hastings United and Walton Casuals will meet at Walton on the opening day of the Ryman Football League Division One South season today

Terry White says there’s nothing he would like more than to guide Hastings United to promotion.

The U’s will kick-off their 2014/15 Ryman Football League Division One South campaign at Walton Casuals today (Saturday) with manager White having assembled a strong-looking squad over the summer.

He said: “There’s nothing I want more than to get promotion for the club, the chairman, the board, the supporters, the town. But there’s only one team that can win it and there’s only one team that can go up through the play-offs so there’s 22 teams going to be disappointed.

“There’s a wanting to get out of this league, but we’re probably one of 6-8 teams I would imagine thinking ‘this could be our year’. Folkestone, Guernsey, Burgess Hill won’t be far away, but you never know what to expect.

“We’ve got a good fighting chance if I can keep everybody fit and possibly get one or two more players in. I’ve got a really strong 16 and then a couple more that I would like to add to that.

“Expectation comes from within. I’m looking at it as a two, three, four-year project, but you don’t always get that timeframe in which to work. In 3-5 years I want to be an established Ryman Premier club looking to get into Conference South.”

United have retained the core of the squad which reached the play-off semi-finals last season, and added to it with strong signings such as Dave Cook, Jahmahl King, Ade Olorunda, Sean Ray and ex-professional Richard Rose.

“I’ve got some good young players mixed with some good experienced players,” continued White. “I’m pleased with the business I’ve got done in the summer. If I’m totally honest I would’ve liked to have another forward, but you can’t have everything.

“I’ve got good characters in the side and good players. When the going gets tough, we’re not going to get rolled over and have our bellies tickled. I feel like I’ve got goals through the team now. Jahmahl and Razor (Ray) have been outstanding pre-season, and I’ll be upset if they don’t get 15 goals between them.”

United’s latest acquisition is Jordan Johnson, a left-footed left-sided player who has previously been at Welling United and Merstham. Johnson played in United’s final two pre-season friendlies at Ringmer last Thursday and Selsey on Saturday.

Goals from Tim Olorunda, Cook and Ray gave United a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Ringmer, while Frankie Sawyer and Sam Adams were on target in a very comfortable 2-0 victory against Selsey.

Taser Hassan is away and Cook is attending a wedding today, but both will be back for the visit of Whitstable Town on Monday night. White admits it now looks unlikely that full-back Frazer Shaw, who featured in pre-season, will join the club.

TODAY’S FOOTBALL FIXTURES

(Kick-off 3pm)

Ryman League, Division 1 South: Walton Casuals v Hastings Utd.

Sussex County League, Division 2: Westfield v Wick & Barnham Utd; Worthing Utd v Little Common.