Hastings United Football Club manager Darren Hare was this week on the verge of what he described as an ‘unbelievable acquisition’.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Hare said a deal could be agreed for the player in question - a goalkeeper - last night (Thursday).
He told Observer Sport: “This ‘keeper I think the fans are going to be completely overwhelmed with. It will be an unbelievable acquisition and I think the board need congratulating on it. He’s just come out of the Football League and he could be playing conference or League Two football still.”
Josh Pelling was United’s number one for two-and-a-half seasons until suffering a serious knee injury last December, which required an operation and kept him out of action for the remainder of the campaign. Pelling has now decided to leave the club.
Hare said: “Josh is recovering from a knee operation and any new manager would be cautious about making contract offers to players without first knowing that they are fully fit, although we did offer to assist Josh with his rehab as he bids to regain full fitness before committing to a deal.
“I like Josh and have seen him play many times, and the decision to re-sign him would have been a ‘no-brainer’ if he had been fit. However, we would not have had him available for the start of the season and this had to play a part in my thinking. I wish him every success in the future.”
Hare also has a striker lined-up to come in alongside recent recruit Frannie Collin and said that holding midfielder Wayne Wilson will be signing for the Ryman Football League Division One South club.
Wilson grew up in Australia, but moved to England to join the academy of then Premier League club Charlton Athletic. The 29-year-old has enjoyed a good career in non-league football, playing for clubs such as Bromley, Margate, Faversham Town and Whitstable Town, with whom he had a spell as player-manager last season.
“He’s a great footballer,” said Hare. “He’s got great delivery, especially from set-pieces, he’s a good size, a great passer of the ball and he loves a tackle. He’s a great lad and he’s desperate to help us achieve promotion.”
Wilson’s anticipated arrival will provide competition for places in a central midfield area which already looks pretty well stocked with Sam Cruttwell and Simon Johnson remaining on board from last season’s squad.
With defenders Richard Davies, Ollie Rowe and Steve Watt in place as well, Hare’s squad looks to be taking shape quite nicely. There’s plenty of experience among the names announced so far, and a mix of new and existing players.
“It’s starting to shape up really nicely now,” continued Hare. “There’s players in there that have won the division above. It’s an exciting squad and I can’t wait to get working with them.
“I’m still waiting on a left-back, but I’m willing to have a look at some of the younger ones in the first couple of weeks of pre-season.
“So many players at the moment have not signed at clubs because they’re there on trial. I think you just need to be patient sometimes with finalising your squad before the season starts and wait for players to become available.”
Hare added that he was ‘really pleased’ with the fitness, attitude and application of the 22 players who took part in the first pre-season training session last weekend.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!