Hawks hoping for third time lucky

Joe Hancott in action for Pompey Reserves against Southend. Picture: Colin Farmery

Harris hails Pompey Reserves’ performance

The Hawks are hoping it will be third time lucky as they bid to stage their Hampshire Senior Cup tie against arch-rivals Eastleigh at West Leigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

With a fixture backlog piling up, both teams are desperate to get the game played.

Hawks manager Shaun Gale just wants to see his men back on the pitch after their game against Hampton & Richmond Borough on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged West Leigh Park pitch.

Gale insists it makes no difference that his side rekindle their rivalry with Eastleigh, only nine days after the sides last met in the league.

'It's having a game that is important with the stop-start nature of events recently,' said Gale.

'We have not been able to pick up any momentum from one minute to the next.

'It hasn't been ideal but the fact that it is Eastleigh in a Hampshire Senior Cup game is irrelevant.

'From our point of view it is a game of football we need to get a result from. We are in the competition and we want to progress as far as we can in it.

'The lads are desperate to play because they have had enough of training.

'They have been fantastic, keeping their fitness levels up by maintaining a fantastic work-rate.

'On Saturday they still came in and worked very hard.

'It is frustrating but you can't let that affect what you are doing.'

The Hawks have all the extra-incentive they need after they went down 4-2 in the derby clash at the Silverlake Stadium last week.

Gale felt his team deserved to get something from that game but saw his men punished for failing to defend set-pieces.

There will also be added spice to the occasion after Eastleigh manager Ian Baird slammed certain members of the Havant club, branding them 'parasites of the game' after the last encounter.

There is no love lost between some members of the two clubs, with Gale accusing Baird of adopting school-playground bullying tactics.

And both teams will be eager to put one over on the other when the twice-postponed cup tie is finally played.

Gale insists he will field a strong starting line-up because he needs to give his senior players games.

'We will play a strong-ish side but I have to bear in mind we also have an important league game at Weston-super-Mare at the weekend,' he said.

'It certainly won't be an Academy team and the majority of the first team will figure.'