Bradbury: Time to roll up our sleeves

Brian Stock
Brian Stock
AFC Portchester cruised to victory. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Lee Bradbury is expecting another tough FA Cup battle for the Hawks as they travel to Ryman League north side Aveley in the third qualifying round of the competition.

Although the hosts play two levels below the Westleigh Park outfit, on their day they possess the capacity to cause an upset.

Bradbury has warned his team they will need to be on their guard and better defensively than they have been in recent games if they are to progress in the competition.

‘I watched Aveley in their replay win over Horsham and they looked good going forward,’ said Bradbury.

‘They are well-drilled and will be difficult to play against.

‘It won’t be easy on their pitch which has plenty of long grass and a bobbly surface.

‘Once again, it is a game where we will have to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in.

‘I am expecting it to be similar in some ways to our last tie against Larkhall, only maybe not quite as physical.

‘The home side will come at us, though, and try to get under our skin.

‘We have to be ready for that and seize the momentum.

‘Once we do that it is vital that we go on and make it count.’

Defensively, Bradbury has Dan Strugnell and Manny Monthe as his central partnership at the back. They had an unhappy time in the 3-0 defeat at Truro City last weekend but the manager’s options are limited, with three senior defenders currently out with long-term injuries.

In the previous round when Monthe was suspended, the Hawks called on veteran defender Pedro Monteiro and he is again included in the squad.

Bradbury said: ‘Pedro hadn’t played since pre-season and did brilliantly for us.

‘His experience was invaluable and he was a great calming influence.’

In midfield, the Hawks are boosted by the return of newly-appointed captain Brian Stock.

The ex-Burnley player was suspended for the Truro game and his ability as a playmaker was badly missed.

Against Larkhall, Stock’s quality on the ball saw him get speedy wingers Lanre Azeez and Ben Swallow on the ball.

‘Brian is a big influence and good voice out on the park for us,’ said Bradbury.

‘Larkhall recognised that and tried to kick him off the pitch.

‘His experience meant he could see a lot of that coming and got him out of trouble.

‘He gets on the ball and his quality means he has the ability to hurt opponents.’

There is still no let up to the Hawks’ crippling injury problems which get worse week after week.

James Hayter was the latest casualty, pulling up in the warm-up at Truro.

His absence means Bradbury is likely to remain with the Matt Paterson and Marvin Morgan strike partnership.

Paterson was the subject of a £7,500 bid from Gosport Borough in midweek but the Hawks insist their leading goalscorer is not for sale.

Pompey loanee full-back Calvin Davies has recovered from his cricked neck but Rommy Boco is unavailable.

Hawks: Young, Blanchett, Monthe, Strugnell, Davies, Donnelly, Stock, Clifton, Swallow, Paterson, Azeez, Morgan, Cummings, Thomson, Monteiro, Searle C, Mullings