Gale: We must roll up our sleeves and defend properly

Former Pompey striker Vincent Pericard. Picture: Dave Haines
Former Pompey striker Vincent Pericard. Picture: Dave Haines
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The Hawks face a battle to stay out of the bottom three as they visit bottom of the league Hampton & Richmond Borough in the Blue Square South (3pm).

Shaun Gale’s side are just two points above the drop-zone after winning only three of their opening 12 league games.

They have struggled on their travels with just one win – against Boreham Wood on the opening day of the season – and need to display greater resilience.

Gale accepts the next week will be pivotal to his teams’ season as two home games follow against Dorchester and Farnborough, who sit just above them in the league.

However, the boss knows his team must start by getting something from their visit to south London.

‘We need a positive result and in many ways it is a must-win game ,’ said Gale.

‘It isn’t an easy place to go and they are scrapping for their lives at the bottom.

‘We need to start climbing the league so it is vital we come away with something and it doesn’t matter how.

‘It is important we match their workrate and win the battles.

‘That is something we haven’t lacked but we have got to stop gifting our opponents goals. We have been playing well for long periods but been punished for individual mistakes.

‘At the moment we are at the wrong end of the league and the next three games are big for us.

‘With the right results we can put ourselves in a much healthier position.’

Gale threatened to wield the axe after last week’s disappointing FA Cup exit at Weston-super-Mare.

And during the week dispensed of the services of experienced midfielder Neil Barrett.

He also indicated goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore would spend the rest of the season on loan at Southern League outfit Gosport Borough.

The manager is actively looking to bring in another central defender to bolster his problem area and hasn’t ruled out moving one or two more players out of the club.

‘I’d like to bring in an experienced central defender because we need a shake-up,’ said Gale.

‘At the moment, though, it’s up to the players here to show me I don’t need to bring new players in.’

Former Pompey striker Vincent Pericard is available again.

And Gale will have to decide whether to bring the hitman straight back into the starting line-up.

He may be reluctant to do so, after Pericard chose to sit out last week’s FA Cup game so he didn’t get cup-tied. Ollie Palmer – who has now scored two goals in two games – and Scott Jones looked sharp when they went on and Gale could well stick with the young duo.

That would allow him to move Lee Peacock into a midfield role where his experience could be utilised.

‘We are underachieving as far as results are concerned,’ said Gale.

‘Our priority has to be to defend for 90 minutes like we did at Boreham Wood and Dover where we came away with points.

‘We can’t afford to keep leaking goals.’

Hawks: Beazely, Newton, Holland, Woodford, Pearce, McDonald, Ryan, Hinshelwood, Igoe, Ramsey, Braham-Barrett, Peacock, Palmer, Jones, Pericard, Whyte, Geteski