Bradbury hopes tie will not become a ‘lottery’

Scott Bevan is recovering from injury. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Scott Bevan is recovering from injury. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Wes Fogden is brought down against Hemel Hempstead. Picture: Keith Woodland

Bradbury: There’s more to come from Hawks

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Lee Bradbury is concerned tonight’s FA Trophy semi-final between the Hawks and Gosport Borough could become a lottery at Westleigh Park tonight (7.45pm).

The pitch has taken a battering from the weather in recent weeks.

And Friday night’s storm left it waterlogged once again, forcing the clash to be postponed on Saturday.

Bradbury knows conditions are likely to be far from perfect.

But he is hoping it won’t prevent the Hawks from playing their normal passing game.

‘It is such an important game we don’t want it becoming a bit of a lottery,’ said Bradbury.

‘We don’t want to have to change the way we play because of the conditions.

‘It would be a shame if the weather ruins the game.

‘Having to postpone the game on Saturday was a massive disappointment for us and left everybody frustrated.

‘The rain, though, has been relentless and the pitch was never playable.

‘I don’t think anyone wants to play in 60-mile-an-hour winds and rain.’

The groundstaff have continued working hard on the pitch all weekend.

And with the second leg scheduled for Privett Park on Saturday there is terrific pressure to get the game played.

If the rains return and the game doesn’t go ahead tonight then the clubs will almost certainly have to try again before next weekend.

Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday night could be considered as alternatives.

Every cloud has a silver lining and the Hawks have received one benefit from the delay – the chance to get a couple of their injured players fit to play.

Without the delay the home side would almost certainly have gone into the first game without the services of two key players.

Goalkeeper Scott Bevan and leading scorer Sahr Kabba were both likely to be ruled out of the contest if it had been played on Saturday.

Bevan has a back problem and Kabba is suffering from an ankle ligament injury.

The extra couple of days to recover may work in their favour and bring them into contention for tonight.

‘We trained on Saturday and that has given us the chance to assess the situation with our injured players,’ said Bradbury.

‘Kabba had a good session with the physio on Thursday night and we are waiting to see how he reacts.

‘Bevan hasn’t trained and we are just waiting to see how he is.

‘Another 48 hours might make all the difference in their case and give them a chance to be involved.’

If Bevan doesn’t make it Bradbury has Liechtenstein international goalkeeper Benji Buchel on loan from AFC Bournemouth as cover.

He’s come in to ensure young keeper Charlie Searle is not put under too much pressure early in his career.

‘Buchel is a good goalkeeper and we needed someone with a bit of experience,’ said Bradbury.

‘Our Academy goalkeeper Charlie Searle has done well for us but has only played three games.

‘I have spoken to Charlie and he understands that I didn’t want to put him into such a pressure situation so early in his career.

‘He is certainly one for the future.

‘With 25 games to play in 11 weeks everyone in our squad is going to be busy.’

HAWKS: Buchel, Bevan, Strugnall, Harris, Monteiro, Blanchett, Atangana, Ryan, Ciardini, Nanetti, Oli, Jones, Kabba, Woodford, Przespolewski, Hutchinson, Newton