Hastings United player-manager Sean Ray is set to turn out for Sidley United tonight (Thursday).
The powerful central defender signed dual registration forms with Sussex County Football League Division One outfit Sidley yesterday and is expected to play for the Blues in an important game at home to Lancing.
Sidley manager John Lambert said: “He’s playing tonight. He’s had four games out because of his suspension and he wants a bit of game-time tonight to get up to speed because they (Hastings) have got a lot of games coming up.
“He’s doing us a favour and we can help him as well. Hopefully it will give the other players a lift too. It also gives us a chance to give someone a rest. We’ve got to juggle it about a bit now because of the way it’s going to be (with the games coming thick and fast). I know people aren’t happy when you leave them out, but it’s for their own good.”
Sidley assistant manager Jamie Podmore met Ray yesterday and said that the 32-year-old “is really looking forward” to a potential first ever appearance for the Blues’ front side.
Having performed well in the 1-0 defeat to high-riding East Preston on Tuesday night, Lambert is optimistic of picking up a much-needed victory in Sidley’s quest to pull away from the lower reaches of the table.
“Although they’re a good side, they’ve got nothing to play for,” Lambert continued. “If we get amongst them like we did East Preston we fancy our chances. We’ve got to go for it tonight really.”
Sidley were 4-1 winners at home to 11th-placed Lancing in a John O’Hara League Challenge Cup tie last September and considered themselves unfortunate to lose 2-1 in the reverse league fixture a couple of months later.
The Blues are just two positions and one point above the three relegation places having won just one of their last 13 league encounters, but victory tonight would move them above Dorking Wanderers.
No pitch inspection is planned and kick-off is 7.45pm. If you can’t make it to the game, follow @SimonNewstead on Twitter for updates and return to this website tonight for a report.
Hastings United’s under-18 game against Burgess Hill Town tonight has just been postponed.