Hawks backed to rise to daunting challenge

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Dave Haines

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Dave Haines

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The Hawks have been urged to show what they are made of as they head into a punishing spell.

The Westleigh Park outfit are on the road for five of their next six fixtures.

The away trips are all against sides in the top 10 of the Blue Square Bet South table – and include a spicy derby clash at Eastleigh.

Meanwhile, the home game will offer little relief as it sees runaway leaders Salisbury City arrive in Havant.

The Hawks begin with a trip to sixth-placed Farnborough tomorrow (3pm).

And boss Lee Bradbury insists his squad are up for the challenge as they attempt to improve on their 14th position.

‘We will need strong characters and leaders out on the pitch,’ he said.

‘It will be tough but it is a challenge we are all looking forward to.

‘We have more than enough in our squad to get results against the top teams.

‘It will take good organisation and preparation with the players putting into practice what we do on the training ground.

‘At times we will need to be at our most resilient and prepared to grind out results.’

Bradbury knows his side can’t afford to repeat their miserable performance at Sholing in midweek that saw them dumped out of the Hampshire Senior Cup.

That 3-1 defeat left Bradbury shocked and disappointed.

He gave a number of his fringe players a chance to impress but few did their cause any good.

‘I didn’t see that coming after we had done so well scoring four goals against Basingstoke,’ said Bradbury.

‘The team put out were more than good enough to beat Sholing. They were all first team squad players, so there is no excuse.

‘The players didn’t take it seriously enough for me.

‘Some poor decision making and defending cost us and that was hard to take.’

Bradbury is now keen for the Hawks to regroup and put that behind them.

Dan Strugnell, who has just extended his loan deal from Bournemouth for another month, Alex Grant and Jesse Kewley-Graham return to strengthen the squad. Farnborough, who are out to net a league double over the Hawks, also had their confidence dented in midweek.

They slipped to a surprise home defeat at the hands of strugglers Bath City.

But Bradbury has warned his troops that the loss will only serve to make them more dangerous.

‘Farnborough are a good side going forward with some quick and tricky forwards,’ he said.

‘They played well at our place to nick a win when we were the better side.

‘When I watched them recently against Dover they were 5-0 up by half-time.

‘We must look to keep them quiet and try to nick a goal.

‘A point would be good but we are capable of coming away with all three.

‘It is important we do better in the next three weeks to climb further up the league.’

HAWKS: Masters, Newton, Harris, Strugnell, Grant, Arthur, Kewley-Graham, Hutchinson, Nanetti, Palmer, Kabba, Ramsey, Ryan, Hinshelwood, Jones,Woodford, Pearce

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