‘U’s Italian striker will be sidelined for months

Hastings United FC have released news that teenage striker Davide Rodari, the boy from Novara in Italy who made such an impact last season at Pilot Field as regular front player and goalscorer, has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. An operation will be needed, and first indications are that he is likely to be sidelined for most of the 2018/2019 season. 

Davide Rodari
PICTURE: Scott White

The injury, revealed by a scan last week, must be a huge disappointment to the player, the club and particularly manager Chris Agutter, who was instrumental in signing Rodari as a junior player with Eastbourne Borough academy in 2016 and then bringing him over to Hastings. Keeping last season’s young and increasingly accomplished squad together while bringing in only a topping of fresh talent was Agutter’s policy for the summer break, and he seemed to be on track, with most players re-signing on renewed contracts. But goalscoring forwards are at a premium at all levels of football: the loss of Rodari’s firepower will be keenly felt.

The Italian was already missing from the line-up last Saturday for the home friendly against Bostik Premier League team Kingstonian, and Agutter’s selection gave some clear pointers to how the ‘U’s will start when the league season kicks off in two weeks’ time. Goalkeeper Charlie Horlock, one of last year’s outstanding performers, was protected by a defence including Sinnkaye Christie, Jahmal Howlett-Mundle and Tom Vickers. Last season’s midfield trio of Sam Beale, Adam Lovatt and Jack Dixon were all in action; Ansu Janneh and Dayshonne Goulding were brought on from the bench. United’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw was headed home ten minutes from time by newcomer Manny Mensah, like winger Antonio Walker-Barth a new recruit from AFC Wimbledon.

Confidence has been high, even if home supporters may take a little time to have all these names tripping off the tongue. It’s Agutter’s task now to ensure that the injury to Rodari doesn’t dent it.

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