Lee Bradbury is hoping for a grandstand finish to the season from his Hawks side – starting with tonight’s Blue Square Bet South clash at Boreham Wood (7.45pm).
The Westleigh Park outfit’s hopes of sneaking into the end-of-season play-offs virtually disappeared on Saturday following a 2-0 away defeat at Maidenhead United.
A top-five finish was always going to be a tall order for Bradbury & Co.
And even if the eighth-placed Hawks did win their final four games of the campaign, the odds are still stacked against them.
The team’s run of 10 games without defeat before Saturday’s loss looked to have taken its toll against Maidenhead.
It was a laboured performance in places and Bradbury hinted he might have to freshen things up a little for the league run-in.
He has the likes of Juan Cruz Gotta, Pedro Monteiro and Kelvin Bossman waiting in the wings to be given their chance.
All have had recent opportunities as substitutes but are yet to make the starting line-up.
‘The first half at Maidenhead was not the best we have played for a while,’ said Bradbury.
‘It showed in this league you cannot afford to carry any players.
‘I’ve now got one eye on trying to win every game and look at players for next season at the same time.
‘It is a fine balance trying to do both.
‘There is plenty of quality in the squad and competition for places all over the pitch.
‘All the players ready to come in are capable of doing a good job.’
Boreham Wood, who have conceded only 12 goals on their Meadow Park home turf all season, will present the Hawks with another tricky assignment.
The hosts – who are one place and three points better off than the Hawks – are still in with a shout of making the play-offs, despite slipping up against Dorchester Town at the weekend.
The 2-1 home defeat will only serve to make the home side doubly determined to make up lost ground.
‘We will have to make sure we approach it the right way,’ said Bradbury.
‘Boreham Wood will be a tough nut to crack.’
Chris Arthur picked up a knock against Maidenhead and is rated as having a 50-50 chance of being fit.
Bradbury has both Cruz Gotta and Monteiro available if he decides to give young Dan Strugnell a break from the firing line.
Strugnell has been one of the Hawks’ most consistent performers over the past three months but got caught out a couple of times at York Road at the weekend.
Although the Hawks’ own chances of making the play-offs have surely vanished – Bradbury’s side are seven points adrift of fifth-placed Chelmsford – they can still have a big say in the final set-up.
In their final four games, Bradbury’s side meet seventh-placed Boreham Wood, twice, third-placed Dover and second-placed Salisbury City.
Hawks: Masters, Newton, Harris, Cruz Gotta, Strugnell, Grant, Ryan, Ramsey, Hutchinson, Arthur, Nanetti, Kabba, Palmer, Jones, Bossman, Monteiro, Weekes