Lee Bradbury is expecting a response from the Hawks against Sutton United at Gander Green Lane tonight (7.45pm).
A disappointing 3-1 home defeat by Bromley wasn’t the best way to start their Vanarama Conference South campaign and Bradbury wants a reaction.
All the visitors’ goals resulted from stunning strikes but the home side were guilty of poor defending in the build-up to all three.
Bradbury is optimistic that his players can bounce back in south London.
‘Our concentration levels let us down on a couple of occasions and Bromley punished us,’ said Bradbury.
‘We need to be a lot sharper and can’t afford to switch off.
‘Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
‘We will have to be at our best at Sutton if we want to get anything from the game.’
Bradbury was able to take more encouragement from his team’s second-half performance.
The manager sent on young striker JJ Hooper at the break going three up front.
Hooper, who missed almost all of pre-season, looked lively causing the Bromley defence lots of problems.
But for the visiting goalkeeper and the woodwork, the Hawks could easily have got themselves back into the game.
Instead another defensive error led to a third Bromley goal which killed off the Hawks’ hopes.
Despite Hooper’s impact Bradbury is cautious about rushing the youngster back.
‘JJ did well and looked dangerous,’ said Bradbury.
‘However he hasn’t had any game-time during pre-season.
‘Going three up front meant that we were able to give it a good go.’
The manager may be less inclined to apply the same ‘gung-ho’ tactics at Sutton.
He said: ‘We have to be a little more cautious away from home.
‘Sutton were a strong side last year and they only just missed out on promotion.
‘They have a good record at home and it will be another tough test.
‘Their manager Paul Doswell expects them to push on again this season.
‘He will also be disappointed by their opening-day defeat at Maidenhead.
‘It means there will be two teams out there going for the win.
‘We usually have good games up at Sutton and I don’t see it being any different this time.
‘Our aim is to go and make it difficult for them.
‘A point would be good, though we always go out to try to win the game.’
Bradbury will also consider bringing midfielder Brian Dutton and full-back Dan Blanchett into his starting line-up.
Both came on in the second half against Bromley and did well.
Like Hooper, though, both saw their pre-season severely disrupted by injury and illness.
New winger Ben Swallow will have a fitness test before a decision is made on his involvement.
Hawks: Young, Huggins, Cummings, Blanchett, Woodford, Strugnell, Harris, Ryan, Donnelly, Dutton, Mullings, Bubb, Hooper, Ciardini, Swallow, Monteiro, Wedlake