Gale: Finish them off this time

Substitute Ollie Palmer in action against Eastleigh. Picture: Dave Haines

Substitute Ollie Palmer in action against Eastleigh. Picture: Dave Haines

Lee Bradbury has led the Hawks to the Ryman League premier division title and promotion to National League South. Picture: Mick Young

Hawks clinch promotion as Borough are relegated

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SHAUN GALE is confident better finishing from the Hawks will ensure derby delight at Eastleigh on New Year’s Day (3pm).

Gale felt his side should have taken all three Blue Square Bet South points on Boxing Day, when the teams drew the reverse fixture 0-0.

He believes a more clinical touch this time out will yield victory for the Hawks at the Silverlake Stadium.

Gale said: ‘We will need to be brave again to deal with their physical threat, particularly at set-pieces.

‘The playing surface won’t be as good as ours, which will play into their hands, but we will have to make sure we dig in.

‘I feel we did more than enough to win the first game but failed to take our chances.

‘We had four clear-cut chances, compared to their one, and again it will be all about who takes their chances.At times this season, we have played some good football but left ourselves too open.

‘Recently, though, we have set ourselves up to become more difficult to beat, showing a lot more resilience.

‘We are unbeaten in five games and must look to build on that.’

The Hawks will travel in confident mood after winning at Tonbridge Angels on their previous road trip.

In Kent, the Hawks packed the midfield, playing just one up front, and this proved a winning formula for them.

Coupled with their solid defensive display against the Spitfires on Boxing Day, it gives the Hawks belief they can upset their big-spending neighbours.

Recent investment has enabled Eastleigh to bring a number of quality players into their squad.

Mitchell Nelson, Damien Scammell and Graeme Montgomery will all pose a threat to Gale’s team.

‘It won’t be easy but we also have the quality in our side to hurt them,’ said Gale.

‘The pressure will be on them, as the home side, to come out and play and we have to exploit that.’

Hawks centre-back Chris Holland is still suspended and Gale is expected to field the same defence who shut out Eastleigh in the first game.

Up front, Ollie Palmer is keen to regain his place in the starting line-up, even though he hasn’t trained because of a dead leg.

Scott Jones has worked hard as the lone front man but hasn’t carried the same goal threat as Palmer so Gale may consider making a change.

Hawks: Beazley, Newton, Arthur, Hinshelwood, McDonald, Pearce, Igoe, Ramsey, Jones, Braham-Barrett, Cashman, Palmer, Woodford, Peacock, Hopkinson, Ryan.

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