Johnson: Hawks play-off chase will not be derailed by fixture frenzy

Kanu takes on Morten Gamst Pedersen.  Picture: Steve Reid

Pompey to meet Blackburn in different circumstances

Hawks assistant boss Steve Johnson insists the club's management team and players are up to the immense challenge facing them in the second part of the season.

So far, the Hawks have managed to play only 17 Blue Square South games, leaving them with 25 still to fit in.

In reality, it leaves them with a tough schedule of two games a week for the next couple of months.

It is almost a repeat of last season when the Hawks went on a terrific winning run in a frantic second half of the campaign, missing out on the play-offs by just one point.

Johnson believes the present squad are capable of going even better this time around.

'It is going to be a demanding period during which time we will need to put a competitive team out on the pitch,' said Johnson

'Last season showed that when you are winning matches, the players don't worry about the little injury worries and niggles.

'We just need to get back on a winning track.

'Winning is a habit and we showed last season that when the games come thick and fast, you can quickly build up some momentum.

'I have no doubts that we are up to it and we have impressed upon the players the need to be strong and rise to the challenges placed in front of us.

'With the people we have got, if we can stay relatively injury-and-suspension free, we will have a fighting chance.

'Our goal at the start of the season was to finish in the top five and that hasn't changed one little bit.'

The Hawks have had to reduce their budget this season in a bid to remain self-sufficient.

The spate of postponements have left a number of clubs struggling financially and some unable to pay their players.

That hasn't been the case at West Leigh Park, though. And Johnson praised the club for the way they look after their players.

'It isn't easy but as a club the Hawks have always tried to do the best by their players,' said Johnson.

'The postponements have been like a double-whammy for the club, though.

'Not only do they lose the revenue from the original games, with the cutbacks in society some supporters can't afford to come to three games a week.

'It just makes it tough for everyone.'

The Hawks are hoping to add to their revenue tomorrow night when they make another attempt to stage their Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Eastleigh at West Leigh Park (7.45pm).

Coming just a week after Eastleigh inflicted a 4-2 league defeat on the Hawks, it is likely to be another spicy affair.

'It will be a chance for us to put a few things right,' said Johnson, right.

'Importantly, we need to start winning football matches – whoever it is against.'