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Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin tells players and fans to enjoy themselves on National League return

Manager Hakan Hayrettin says Maidstone should enjoy the ride on their National League return.

Hayrettin’s National South champions are back at non-league’s top table after a three-year absence and start the season at Altrincham this Saturday.

Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Steve Terrell
Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Steve Terrell

They’re among the favourites to be relegated and go into the opening weekend with several injury concerns.

But none of that matters as far as Hayrettin is concerned, with the Stones boss urging fans to get behind his side and enjoy themselves.

He said: “Give them a chance, give them the opportunity. I think they’re ready to step up.

“Why not? Come on, let’s get on the bus and enjoy the ride. Let’s get on with the job. Let’s surprise a few people.

“The league is a hard league.

“My job is to consolidate and do the best that I can with the staff I’ve got, so that’s what I’m going to do.

“I’m not going to change, am I?

“I’m going to do it my way. I believe in what I do, my players will believe in what I do and we’ll go from there.

“You get that buzz going to the big grounds.

“I want my players to enjoy this season and give it a right good go and show people what they can do.

“We’ll be as well-prepared as we possibly can but I just want everyone to enjoy it - and I’m sure they will.

“Get behind the team, encourage the team, win, lose or draw.

“We want to get the Gallagher rocking and when we go away, if the fans can afford it and if they can come, let’s give these players the support they deserve.

“I’ve always said how important the support is, they’ve been fantastic and they will be again.”

Joan Luque is a long-term absentee following knee surgery, while Sol Wanjau-Smith, Jack Barham, Joe Ellul and Sam Corne sat out the final friendly against Dulwich last weekend, a match that finished 2-2.

Jerome Binnom-Williams added to the Stones’ injury concerns when he went off in the first half.

“We’ve got injuries to key players who would probably be involved,” said Hayrettin.

“You’re talking about five or six players that we’ll have to assess this week and go from there.

“But, overall, pre-season’s been good, the new boys have gelled well and we’ve kept the core of the squad from last year, and I think we’ll be OK.

“Everyone measures success in different ways, don’t they? Some say if you avoid relegation it’s success; some say if you’re halfway up the table it’s success.

“I have in my own mind relative targets.

“I want to be the best I possibly can, I want this club to be the best they possibly can, I want the players to be the best they possibly can, and that’s what we’re going to do.

“Let everyone enjoy it but my job is to make sure we stay in this league and I will do that.”

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