Hawks arrive at last-chance saloon

Lee Bradbury, right, and the suspended Aristide Bassele. Picture: Dave Haines
Lee Bradbury, right, and the suspended Aristide Bassele. Picture: Dave Haines
Horndean are aiming to make Cup progress at the second attempt

Deans must take second chance in Cup... Royals will be strong

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Lee Bradbury has called on his weary Hawks to make one last big push for the Skrill South play-offs.

Three points from their final fixture at Tonbridge Angels tomorrow (3pm) will guarantee the Westleigh Park outfit the coveted sixth spot.

But they have Dover Athletic breathing down their neck – a single point adrift.

Anything less than a win will leave the door open for Dover, who have a better goal difference and travel to Hayes & Yeading, to leapfrog them and seize the final spot in the play-offs.

It promises to be a nerve-wracking finale for the Hawks.

They are determined not to finish the season as the nearly men – having already missed out on the FA Trophy final to Gosport Borough.

But after missing the chance to seal sixth spot on Wednesday night – when they went down 3-1 to Maidenhead – the pressure is building on Bradbury & Co.

‘We looked tired and jaded in midweek,’ he said.

‘There was a lack of energy and Maidenhead were far more up for it.

‘It was a great opportunity wasted and we have to lift ourselves and go again.

‘We don’t want to miss out on this last chance to make the play-offs.

‘Importantly our fate is still in our own hands and we know what we have to do.

‘There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to make sure we get the job done.’

The Hawks badly missed the presence of injured playmaker Nigel Atangana in midweek.

The French midfielder is sidelined with a knee injury and remains a doubt for tomorrow.

Dennis Oli played 90 minutes despite his groin problem.

But it was not until makeshift front man Eddie Hutchinson headed home in stoppage-time that the Hawks looked a threat.

Meanwhile, their defence was unsually exposed by Maidenhead’s pace in attack.

Bradbury may bring Pedro Monteiro back in to steady the ship tomorrow.

However, he has few options for change in other areas as Aristide Bassele starts a three-match ban and midfielder Steve Ramsey is injured.

‘We don’t want to come away from Tonbridge thinking what might have been,’ said Bradbury.

‘They may already be relegated but we can’t afford to think they have nothing to play for.

‘There will be no pressure on them and that will enable them to play with a greater freedom.

‘That will be enough to make them dangerous.

‘We have to focus on our game, make sure we get it right and don’t allow Dover in to pip us to the post.’

Hawks: Buchel, Strugnell, Woodford, Monteiro, Harris, Blanchett, Ryan, Donnelly, Ciardini, Nanetti, Oli, Kabba, Jones, Hutchinson, Przespolewski, Newton, Atangana, Cummings