Hastings United manager Chris Agutter has said he will be bringing in one further player before the season starts, with any other new first team players being players promoted from the youth system.
The U’s agonisingly missed out on promotion last year after a 3-2 defeat after extra time against Ashford United in the Bostik League South East Division play-off semi final. United have already signed four players so far this summer in Aaron Condon, Ben Pope, Jake Elliott and Craig Stone and has admitted that there will only be one more signing coming in, which could get announced in the next week.
Agutter said: “We’re looking at bringing in one former player to add a bit more firepower to the forward line and hopefully that will get announced in the next week or so, but in terms of anyone else we won’t be looking to bring anyone else in, there might just be promotions from the 23s and 19s academy.”
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Agutter has had a good chance to look at certain players in the development squads since pre-season training has started as it is just the under 19’s, under 23’s and a few first team players who have returned to training so far.
He said: "The full first team isn’t back until July 11, so we’ve got about five or six first team players back in training and then the rest of the squad is made up of under 19s and under 23s. It’s been a small group, like a development group with us, plus the five or six first team players that we felt needed to come back early.”
Agutter also spoke about having an experienced head like Gary Elphick around and what that has done for the club.
He said: “He’s a big influence on and off the pitch and results speak for themselves don’t they, I don’t think we’ve lost a game during 90 minutes since he’s come in and we’ve conceded less goals and we’ve generally looked like a more solid defensive unite with him on the pitch so he’s a big positive.”
United’s first pre-season match is this Saturday away at Alresford Town, but Agutter admits that the matches is not the most important thing about pre-season.
He said: “It is very much about making sure that by the first game of the season, everyone is in a good position to win football matches.
“So if we went through pre-season and lost every single game, but won the first game of the season, then that to me is a successful pre-season, but if we win every game in pre-season, but lost the first game of the season then that wouldn’t be as successful.”
He continued: “It’s not really about results, it’s about developing ways we want to play and making sure our players are ready for the season.”