Bradbury wants Hawks to prove their quality

Hawks striker James Hayter Picture: Allan Hutchings
Hawks striker James Hayter Picture: Allan Hutchings
Matt Tubbs played well against Sutton. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Injuries are big concern but defensive errors also worry Hawks

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LEE BRADBURY needs a big reaction from his Hawks side against Margate in their Vanarama National League South contest at Westleigh Park (3pm).

Two defeats, no points, five goals against and none scored represents a hugely-disappointing start from the opening two games of the season.

Performances have been poor, with the Hawks second best in most if not all departments against Bishop’s Stortford and Sutton United.

There has been a lack of energy throughout the side, while key players have been well-below par.

Bradbury admitted he needs a 90-minute performance from his team who have so far failed to deliver.

‘We need to start winning the battles on the pitch from the first whistle,’ said the Hawks boss.

‘So far the opposition have been winning too many of the second balls in midfield and with the players we have in there that’s disappointing.

‘Our decision-making also needs to be a lot better.

‘As a team we need all the players to do their jobs if we are to turn the corner.

‘I have faith in my squad but they need to produce the quality they are capable of.’

Bradbury has only made one change to his starting line-up so far, with James Hayter replacing Ben Swallow after the season-opener.

It will be a surprise if he doesn’t make further changes for the Margate game, particularly in the defence which has looked vulnerable.

With Ed Harris injured, the central-defensive pairing of Brian Dutton and Lee Molyneaux has looked uncertain.

That could mean short-term signing Manny Monthe could be in line for his first start, with the extra pace of Dan Blanchett utilised at full-back.

Bradbury said: ‘We have to cut out the mistakes at the back and start defending basic balls into our box.

‘Sutton United scored with two undefended headers and that isn’t good enough.

‘We have to give ourselves more of a chance to stay in games.

‘There is no need to start pressing the panic button because there is still a long way to go.

‘It is taking us a bit longer to gel than I expected.’

Newly-promoted Margate will present the Hawks with another tough test after drawing both of their opening games.

At Whitehawk in midweek they showed their battling qualities by fighting back from a two-goal deficit at half-time.

Bradbury is demanding his side shows a similar appetite which is something that has been missing in the games so far.

‘Margate will come here to battle and we have to match them,’ added Bradbury.

‘It is time for us to roll up our sleeves and fight to earn the right to play our football.

‘The first goal will be important and if it goes against us I want us to show a positive reaction.

‘Instead of going into our shells we need to stand up and be counted.’

HAWKS: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Molyneaux, Monthe, Blanchett, Cummings, Stock, Donnelly, Clifton, Ciardini, Swallow, Paterson, Hayter, Morgan, Monteiro, Kimber, Ridge