By Jack Barlow

The Pilot Field in Hastings made for quite a sorry picture at the beginning of February after the Beast from the East had ripped through the seaside village. Snowed under, there was a definite feel of sorrow in the air as this promising football club faces yet another season without achieving the promotion they could have earned.

To make matters slightly worse, the U’s have also seen an exodus of their best players leave the club. It began with young talent Adam Lovatt in November when Sutton United signed the combative midfielder.

Lovatt had previously been tipped to sign for Stoke City but for one reason or another, the move fell through. However, the EFL Championship betting odds will show just how good a player Lovatt is having been courted by the Potters, who are in with a serious chance of being promoted to the Premier League.

The 21-year-old also spent a week on trial with Leeds United in 2018 but didn’t do enough to catch the eye of revered manager Marcelo Bielsa. So the fact that Lovatt has finally left will no doubt hurt Hastings in their bid for promotion, his move to Sutton United is undoubtedly a clever one which will open many more doors with the club homing in on promotion to League Two.

Following Lovatt out the door was Davide Rodari who has joined Crawley Town on a two and a half year deal, with the option of a further two years. Rodari, who began his footballing journey in the Inter Milan academy, will be a big loss for Hastings but he leaves with the well wishes of everyone at the Pilot Filed after a tremendous few years at the club where he became a fan favourite.

There seems to be an abundance of young talent in Hastings and in early January it was Burnley boss Sean Dyche who was next to raid the seaside town when he sanctioned a move for 17-year-old midfielder Benn Ward, who joins the Clarets academy.

As previously mentioned, there has been an exodus of promising young talent from Hastings United and by the time the league starts up, the makeup of the squad could be unrecognizable. The hope amongst supporters is that the funds received from outgoings will be reinvested adequately in order to keep Hastings on track to continue their climb up the English footballing pyramid.

With that said, Hasting’s network of scouts deserve immense credit for being able to spot young talent. It can often seem like one step forward and two steps back when a club loses their best players but you only need to look at the example Brentford set when it comes to replacing players who were deemed irreplaceable.

Indeed, any forward-thinking football club always has a contingency plan should they lose their best players. The snow will clear and the Pilot Field will be rocking again as Hastings continue their quest to reach the dizzy heights of League Two.

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