The Managers Preview
Hastings United manager, Andrew Whiffen-Brown, gave his thoughts before the game.
What league/division are you in this year?
We play our football in the Kent Youth League Southern Division.....last season was my and a lot of the players first (I have previously always worked in the Sussex Sunday League) and I must say I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the level of competition. For whatever reason Kent seems to breed a different type of player to Sussex and the more physical, competitive challenge has been of huge benefit.
How did your season go last year?
I would class last season as a huge success! It took us a while to find our feet but from December onwards we put together a great run of results and significantly improved on the previous season's league position. On top of our league success we became Sussex County Champions after beating Patcham United 2-1 in the final having only conceded one goal throughout the journey.
You look to have had a steady start to the season, winning two and losing two, are you happy with the performances, so far?
We’ve actually started the season better than results would suggest.....in our two defeats we have performed very well and in most circumstances, would have won those games. We enter this fixture off the back of a solid win against a tough Hythe Town side and look to back up that result up with another positive performance on Sunday.
What are your goals for the team this season?
Our aim is to improve on last season in every aspect.....I’d like us to accumulate more points, score more goals, concede fewer goals but most importantly see the players fulfil their individual potential. So far we’ve had 3 players regularly feature in our U16 side and a further 2 players have trained with the U23’s and First Team-another advert for the excellent pathway provided at this Football Club.
Who are the players to watch?
I genuinely find it difficult to pick any standouts-each and every player brings something different to the side and all play their part extremely well. I’m afraid I’m going to have to sit on the fence with this one!
We also spoke to Oaks manager, Mark Archard:
It's the 1st round of the Sussex FA Cup and a long away trip to Hastings United, last season's winners. This will be the toughest challenge yet, how do you prepare the team for the game?
We are looking forward to playing Hastings this Sunday, although not that impressed with the journey length of 1 1/2 hours! We play most our games in south London & that’s only 45 minutes to an hour away.
Obviously Hastings won the cup last year & its a huge challenge for the team but one the boys are going to do their best to step up to.
We will play our usual shape & let sides worry about us.
It’s nice sometimes to go in as the underdog & I know that will suit these boys & give them a chance to show everyone what they are all about.
Last week saw a big win against a potential title contender, what were the take-away’s from a hard fought game?
Last week was very flattering for us! Football is a funny old game & this certainly was. It's great preparation for the Hastings game the fact that we managed to carve out so many chances & also take 7 of them away from home!
I don’t think all the boys levels were the same but got to take my hat off to the boys as even those who weren’t at their best worked so hard to win the game.
There are no super stars in this team & every week a different player is standing out in the game & that’s a massive plus for all of us.
Last weeks stand out performance was Liam, scoring 4 and assisting 2, what more can you ask from your striker.So pleased for him as his had a difficult time with some repetitive injuries last year & fingers crossed that’s all behind him.
We have scored s lot of goals from midfield as well & that’s very pleasing.
Most importantly we must keep creating the chances.
I would love for this group of boys to get the accolades they deserve & go on & win things this season as the very special bunch of boys they are.