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Zavon Hines says Maidstone United boss Jay Saunders is like Gianfranco Zola

By Craig Tucker

Zavon Hines has likened Maidstone manager Jay Saunders to Italian great Gianfranco Zola.

Hines is loving life at United, scoring in back-to-back wins over Woking and Eastleigh, and puts his form down to the faith shown in him by Saunders.

He worked under Zola at West Ham, who had similar ideas on how to get the best of him.

Former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola in his Chelsea days Picture Grant Falvey

Former West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola in his Chelsea days Picture: Grant Falvey

Hines said: “I like what the manager’s trying to do here - he’s trying to let us play.

“We’ve got a job to do but, especially the front lads, he wants us to express ourselves and be the best we can be.

“For me personally, I love that he’s given me the opportunity.

“I’ve got to work hard first and foremost but once I get on the ball I can express myself.

“Being the player that I believe I am, I like to express, I like to excite and I’ve got that here so I’m in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally.

Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture Andy Jones

Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders Picture: Andy Jones

“When I first came through at West Ham, Zola was very similar.

“He just wanted me to express myself as well, the same as Jay, and I liked that.

“I had the same at Dagenham with Wayne Burnett, too, which is where I think had my best season to date.”

Hines has proved quite a signing since arriving at the Gallagher as a free agent, scoring four goals and setting up just as many.

The 28-year-old isn’t satisfied, though, and says Stones fans are still to see the best of him.

He said: “I feel there’s more to come. I know I’m getting 90 minutes but I don’t feel fully fit yet.

Zavon Hines celebrates his winner at Eastleigh Picture Steve Terrell

Zavon Hines celebrates his winner at Eastleigh Picture: Steve Terrell

“Slowly but surely I’m getting sharper and sharper and hopefully in the next couple of games I’ll be to the level I know I can be.

“I’m just taking it slowly. I don’t want to rush it, I don’t want to do too much or cause any injuries, I’m just enjoying it and working on my fitness every day.

“I genuinely believe there’s a lot more to come from me.

“I want to score more, I want to assist more and I want to excite people.”

Read the full interview in today's Kent Messenger

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