Bradbury keen to strike gold

Hawks striker Shamir Mullings
Hawks striker Shamir Mullings
Jaosn Prior. Picture: Keith Woodland

Late heartbreak for Hawks

  • Hawks target runners-up spot
  • Manager, however, needs strikers to be firing on all cylinders for Whitehawks game
  • Hawks need to win and hope results go their way elsewhere to finish second
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LEE BRADBURY needs his misfiring strikers to find their goal touch as the Hawks target the Vanarama Conference South runners-up spot.

To achieve their ambition, the fourth-placed Westleigh Park side need to beat Whitehawk on home soil tomorrow (3pm) and hope that their two rivals above them in the play-off race, Boreham Wood and Basingstoke Town, slip up.

They have all been champing at the bit in training this week, wanting to get into the team for the vital games

Lee Bradbury

The Hawks possess the second-best defensive record in the division but it is up front where their main problems have been.

All five strikers – Bradley Bubb, JJ Hooper, Ben Wright, Shamir Mullings and Alan Connell – have struggled to find any consistency.

It is mainly thanks to Scott Donnelly’s 16 goals from midfield that the Hawks have secured their play-off place.

Bradbury admits now would be an ideal time for his forwards to weigh in with goals of their own.

‘We need to be more ruthless in the final third,’ said the manager.

‘Now is a great opportunity for them to shine as we head into the play-offs.

‘They have all been champing at the bit in training this week, wanting to get into the team for the vital games.

‘They are all excited about being in the play-offs and want to play their part.

‘We have all worked hard to get where we are and must be prepared to give it everything in the final games.’

Bradbury has plenty to think about with his options up front, though young Bournemouth loanee Harry Cornick looks sure to start after impressing in recent games.

Mullings started at Basingstoke but struggled to make any impression, which means Bubb, Hooper or Wright could be in line for a recall.

Only three points separate the second and fifth-placed clubs, so second spot is up for grabs.

The team who finish as runners up get an advantage going into the play-offs and Bradbury wants that for the Hawks.

If they succeed it means they will play the second leg of the semi-final at home.

More importantly, if the Hawks progress beyond the semi-finals they would have home advantage in a one-off final.

‘It is all to play for still and we want to beat Whitehawk,’ added Bradbury.

‘We are on a nice little unbeaten run, winning five out of our last six games, and want to take that form forward with us.

‘It is important that we maintain the winning mentality into the remaining games.

‘I want us to kick on and try to go as far as we can and that means keeping our focus.

‘During the week I spoke with the players about keeping the high standards we have set ourselves both on and off the pitch.’

The Hawks have an excellent record against all their play-off rivals this season and won’t want the Sussex visitors to spoil that.

Apart from the suspended pair of Brian Stock and Ed Harris, Bradbury has a full-strength squad to choose from.

HAWKS: Young, Huggins, Strugnell, Dutton, Cummings, Donnelly, Carmichael, Awford, Cornick, Swallow, Hooper, Bubb, Wright, Mullings, Ciardini, Blanchett, Woodford