Bradbury calls for Cup spirit repeat

Harry Medway, right Picture: Paul Jacobs

Harry Medway, right Picture: Paul Jacobs

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Lee Bradbury believes the Hawks can use their spirited FA Cup performances as a springboard to climb the Vanarama National South League.

The Westleigh Park side entertain fellow strugglers St Albans City tomorrow looking for a win that would keep them out of the division’s bottom three.

Bradbury’s team are also looking to end a run of five successive league defeats which has sent them in free-fall down the league.

The home side are hoping to take inspiration from their two battling Cup ties against National League high-fliers Cheltenham Town.

The Hawks pushed the Robins all the way, drawing the first tie 3-3 before losing the replay 1-0 at Whaddon Road.

‘Over the two Cup games the players showed just what they are capable of,’ said Bradbury.

‘They worked hard for each other, showing a lot of spirit and camaraderie.

‘There are no excuses for not doing the same in the league games.

‘I expect that high standard from them week in, week out and this is a big game for us.

‘If we produce the same application and work-rate, I am convinced we will soon start to climb the league.

‘That has to start with a good win over St Albans City. This is an important game for us because St Albans are just one place below in the league.’

One of the Hawks’ biggest problems in recent league games has been their vulnerability at the back.

They have conceded poor goals, which opponents didn’t have to work too hard for to score.

The return of Brian Dutton from injury, however, has given the side a more solid look in that area.

He and central-defensive partner Dan Strugnell were both superb in the two games against the Robins.

Having the experience of Dutton back in the side is a big plus for Bradbury.

He can also take a lot of encouragement from the fact that one or two key players, like Scott Donnelly and Ben Swallow, are starting to regain their form.

Bradbury is looking for them to continue that trend in the important league games over the next few weeks.

‘The players set the bar high in the Cup games but that won’t mean anything unless we carry that on in the league,’ added Bradbury.

‘Now is the time we have to do something about our league position.

‘We need to start winning league games.

‘It is getting tight at the bottom, after Basingstoke beat Whitehawk in midweek.

‘We must start to pick up some momentum and put some daylight between us and the teams below.’

Pompey youth loanee Calvin Davies returns to the squad after being recalled in midweek by his parent club for an FA Youth Cup tie against Plymouth.

Harry Medway could be set to keep his place, though, after an impressive display in midweek.

Hawks: Young, Blanchett, Strugnell, Dutton, Medway, Davies, Stock, Donnelly, Clifton, Paterson, Azeez, Hayter, Morgan, Mullings, Cummings, Thomson, Monthe

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