Crunch time in Hawks’ bid for strikers

Lee Peacock, Grimsby Town
Lee Peacock, Grimsby Town
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Hawks manager Shaun Gale has two new strikers in his sights and regards the next few days as critical in his bid to sign them.

A lack of firepower cost the Hawks dear last season and was one of the major factors in their failure to get anywhere near the Blue Square South play-offs.

Gale is determined to remedy that weakness ahead of the new campaign, especially with current strikers Manny Williams and Mustafa Tiryaki both unlikely to pen deals.

Whether Gale can succeed in luring his two main targets to West Leigh Park, though, is very much in the balance.

‘We have had meetings with both players but whether we can get them is another matter,’ said Gale.

‘Both are full-time pros at the moment and the biggest issue is whether they are prepared to go part-time with us.

‘Our main task is convincing them to make the change.

‘We are very close but that isn’t close enough for me. I won’t be happy until they have signed on the dotted line.

‘They are experienced players who could be key to what we want to achieve at this club.

‘Even if we manage to get only one of them it will be fantastic for the club.

‘It is getting to the nitty-gritty stage now and I need answers from them pretty soon.

‘I do have other options but we are doing everything we can to get our top targets.’

Former Pompey trainee Louie Castles will train with the club in pre-season in a bid to earn himself a deal and has even cancelled his holiday to focus on his efforts.

The wide man had a brief spell with the Hawks two seasons ago, after impressing against them while playing for Bognor Regis, but it never worked out for him.

The youngster spent last season playing parks football with his friends but has now regained an appetite to play at a higher level.

Gale has challenged Castles to come along and try to earn himself a deal.

‘When someone is released from a pro club like Louie was at Portsmouth, it can be a big body blow,’ said Gale.

‘It sometimes takes time to recover from it and everything suffers for a while.

‘It is now in his hands. We can give him the opportunity and it is up to him to take it.’

Meanwhile, full-back Jon McDonald has agreed to return to West Leigh Park for next season after penning a new deal on reduced terms.

Elsewhere, Nathan Ashmore is the only goalkeeper on the Hawks’ books at the moment.

Gale would like to keep Aaron Howe but has to see if the finances can allow it to happen.