East Grinstead set for their assault on Europe

East Grinstead Coach Karl Stagno

East Grinstead have endured a tough start ot the season but Coach Karl Stagno believes they are heading into form at just the right time. The Saint Hill outfit lost the talents of Ashley Jackson, Makr Pearn, Andy Bull and Mark Gleghorne over the summer and so have had to undertake an element of rebuilding before launching their assault on domestic and European titles.

“We have lost some big players and personalities within the group,” Stagno told the Euro Hockey League website. “We have managed to replace them with a number of good players. As a consequence the team and the squad is very new, young and untested. Therefore we need time to bed in and learn about each other and how best to play together.”

Having slipped to three consecutive losses, the Sussex side picked a hard-fought win against previously unbeaten Reading this past weekend, ensuring they go into the EHL on a high.

Adam Seccull, the Australian signed in the summer scored the winner, his second of the match from a penalty corner and looks to be a threat from set pieces, whilst in England goalkeeper Paddy Smith and international teammates David Condon and Chris Griffiths there is proven quality in the ranks. The arrival of Dom Bowden, a former university teammate of Griffiths and Condon, has further boosted the squad and Stagno is certain his big players will step up in Hamburg this weekend.

“Both David and Chris are very talented and above all else very exciting players. I am certain they will grace the EHL with their skills.

“Nonetheless, we are looking to develop a squad mentality and it’s important we don’t rely on them but spread the load around the team. The team is able to do this and I am certain therefore that David and Chris will then be able to play with freedom.”

With Irish outfit Monkstown first up, followed swiftly by Spain’s Club Egara, the one qualification spot is sure to be hotly contested, but with his squad revitalised and full of confidence, Stagno will be hoping to mastermind his side’s safe passage into the KO16 in April.

East Grinstead's first game is against Monkstown on Friday 9 October at 11:30am UK time. For more information or to watch the action live, visit the EHL website.