Rodari and Dawes on way back as Hastings United hunt for goals
Hastings United's attacking options are in line for a boost with deadly duo Davide Rodari and Lloyd Dawes set to return from injury.
Both hotshots are close to fitness after knee injuries and are likely to see first-team action soon – at a time when United are struggling for goals.
Rodari is a week or two away while Dawes has been back in training this week and their fitness will add significantly to Agutter’s choices.
Hastings have had a solid start to the season but chalked up their second 0-0 draw in two league games at Faversham at the weekend.
Agutter is unfazed by the lack of goals and forecasts that his team will adapt quickly as they come up against more and more sides who simply set out to frustrate them with plenty of men behind the ball.
A different challenge awaits them tomorrow when they go to National South side Ebbsfleet in the FA Cup second qualifying round.
Agutter said: “Faversham just sat in. A lot of teams are sitting off us and putting 11 behind the ball at times. I think we’ll get a lot of it this season because of what we achieved last season. It’s not nice to watch. In fact at Faversham their manager apologised for it.
“I suppose it’s a compliment to us.”
Agutter said his players had to be patient and he was confident goals and wins would follow. And he said being able to pitch Rodari – who scored 24 goals in just 16 games before injury struck last season – and star new signing Dawes into the squad would be a massive boost.
“Last year we took five points from our first three games so if we can get a win at Haywards Heath on Tuesday that will give us the same,” he said.
For now the focus is on the Cup and Agutter said they’d be going to Ebbsfleet, who play two leagues higher, aiming for the win.
He is taking inspiration from last season’s FA Trophy visit to Weymouth, who went on to be promoted from National South. “We lost 1-0 but they said it was the toughest game they had,” he recalled.
“For us this is a fifth game of the season but for Ebbsfleet it’s their first, so they will have to start fast.
“Ebbsfleet will go at us and that will suit us.
“Then we go to Haywards Heath on Tuesday and with Shaun Saunders back as their manager that makes that game doubly tough.”