Lee Bradbury is under no illusions how tough the Hawks’ FA Trophy second-round tie against Dover Athletic will be at Westleigh Park (3pm) – if the game passes a pitch inspection today.
The Vanarama Conference Premier visitors boast an excellent cup pedigree, after reaching the third round of the FA Cup this season.
Chris Kinnear’s side knocked out Football League pair Morecambe and Cheltenham Town, before losing to Crystal Palace last weekend.
Dover had gone 16 games unbeaten in the league and Trophy prior to that reverse against the Eagles.
It is an impressive record and shows the scale of the test facing the home side tomorrow.
‘Since pipping us at the post for a place in the play-offs last season, Dover have gone from strength to strength,’ said Bradbury.
‘They are a big, strong, well-organised outfit and we will have to be at our best to get anything.
‘We are looking forward to the challenge, though, because it is always good to be tested by a side playing at a higher level.
‘It is something we are aspiring to and will be a good yardstick for us to judge where we are.
‘Losing in last season’s (Trophy) semi-final hurt us and we would love to go one better, but it is going to be tough.’
One factor in the Hawks’ favour could prove to be the Westleigh Park pitch.
Against Hayes & Yeading last weekend it cut up badly and a lot of remedial work has been needed to get it ready for tomorrow’s clash.
It could prove to be a leveller, although the club have covered the surface to protect it from any further damage.
If Brian Stock and Scott Donnelly can repeat their outstanding performances from last week, the Hawks will have a chance of pulling off a surprise win.
Both midfielders drove the team forward as they adapted well to the tricky conditions underfoot. Bradbury recognises they will be key again.
‘I thought Brian Stock had his best game for us last week,’ said the Westleigh Park manager.
‘He and Scott Donnelly were solid and the source of most of our attacks.
‘Both can see a pass and deliver it and that could prove vital against a team like Dover.’
Up front Bradbury is likely to stick with Ben Wright and Bradley Bubb – with the latter scoring twice in the 4-2 win over Hayes & Yeading.
It remains to be seen if the manager decides to recall young striker JJ Hooper.
‘Games between the two sides are usually close and I am expecting quite a tie,’ added Bradbury.
‘We will be going all out to win the tie first time at home but it will need a lot of hard work.’
Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Dutton, Harris, Cummings, Donnelly, Stock, Ciardini, Wright, Bubb, Huggins, Swallow,Blanchett, Mullings, Connell, Ryan, Woodford, Hooper