Hayling United to give youngsters a chance to impress during forthcoming Hampshire Premier League Cup tournament
Hayling United boss Dan Bishop will use the forthcoming L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup tournament to give youngsters some first team experience.
Hayling have been drawn in the toughest of the eight groups, alongside Senior Division rivals Locks Heath and Fleetlands and Division 1 heavyweights Moneyfields Reserves.
‘It’s madness when you look at some of the other groups,’ said Bishop, ‘but I guess it is what it is.
‘I don’t really know how I’ll be treating it. I certainly won’t be getting upset if we lose or too high if we win.
‘I’ll be giving some youngsters a chance - if you can’t use a competition like this to test the nippers when can you?
‘If I’m giving them a chance, it means some first teamers will be in the reserves.
‘I’ll be able to see a) how the youngsters get on in the first team and b) if the first teamers are putting in the effort when they step down.’
Two of the young Humbugs who could feature in the cup are central midfielder Jack Mardell and centre half Max Clapp, both 18.
They played for the reserves Bishop took charge of in Tuesday’s 3-2 home loss to Hampshire Combination East Division leaders Fleetlands.
‘Jack’s a fantastic player, great energy, while Max is another islander who played on the left side of a back three.’
George Rough gave Hayling the lead and, after Fleetlands had levelled through Jamie Wrapson, Ant Baker - ‘an old fashioned centre forward’ - put the hosts back in front.
The dismissal of Hayling midfielder Josh Watts for a second yellow was a game changer, with the Coptermen scoring twice late on in a match played out in a variety of weather conditions.
Wrapson levelled with his second of the evening before Liam Gouge grabbed the winner.
It was a sixth win in seven league games for Fleetlands, under boss Steve King, and they remain two points clear of Alton at the top.
‘It was a real shame,’ said Bishop. ‘We were good for at least a point.’
Hayling had returned to action at the weekend with over 30 players used in two friendlies against Portchester U23s and Liss Athletic.
Rough and an own goal gave them victory over the Royals, while a late Dan Goodsell leveller earnt United a 1-1 draw in the second game.
Liss had taken the lead from a penalty, Liam Buxton committing a ‘ridiculous’ foul, while Athletic had Baffins Milton Rovers’ Charlie Searle in goal for them.
Hayling’s opening game in the L4 cup is home to Moneyfields Reserves this Saturday.
Moneys, having relieved boss Paul O’Rielly of his duties last month, will be managed by player Jake Knight.