Hawks boss lays down challenge to squad

Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Dave Haines
Moneyfields striker Steve Hutchings Picture: Keith Woodland

Rocks’ Cup hopes ended by Oxford

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Lee Bradbury has no intention of taking it easy against United Services in the Hampshire Senior Cup tonight (7.45pm).

His Hawks go into the second-round contest as heavy favourites to defeat their Wessex League division one visitors.

But while it will be a shock if Bob Brady’s Sailors get anything from the tie – Bradbury is leaving nothing to chance.

The Westleigh Park manager is instead challenging his new squad to impress.

With both sides scrapping for a spot in round three, the clash will give the boss another opportunity to look at the players he inherited after accepting the Hawks job last week.

On Saturday, Bradbury began his reign with a 2-1 Blue Square Bet South win at Basingstoke Town.

The former Pompey striker was delighted with the triumph and is determined to maintain a winning habit.

Tonight provides his Hawks with the ideal platform to do just that.

Originally a home game for the Sailors, floodlighting problems at Burnaby Road have seen the tie switched.

And Bradbury is determined to avoid any slip-ups and make home advantage count.

The ex-Bournemouth manager said: ‘It is another chance for me to look at some players – those who have not had much of an opportunity to show me what they can do yet.

‘United Services will be coming here looking to cause an upset and we need to keep our standards high.

‘And if we make sure we do that, then there should be a positive outcome. I want the players to go out, pass the ball with freedom and confidence and create chances.

‘It would be nice to keep a clean sheet.

‘Apparently, we are still yet to do so this season.

‘We would have kept one at Basingstoke but for a cracking strike for their goal.’

One player particularly keen to impress is defender Sam Page.

Dropped by Adi Aymes, he is determined to win his place back in the starting line-up.

Page began the season as captain but lost his place to Ryan Woodford after former boss Stuart Ritchie was sacked.

With Woodford suspended for the next Blue Square Bet South game – against Farnborough on Saturday – Page will want to take his chance.

‘Sam may feel he has a point to prove after recent events,’ said Bradbury.

‘He is one of the players I have not had much chance to have a look at yet.

‘I am sure he will be going out and giving it everything.’

The Hawks will be without Chris Arthur and Clark Masters, though.

Full-back Arthur is still about two weeks away from fitness following his knee injury.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Masters is suspended.

The Hawks are set to wear their new third kit.

One of the reasons they will don the pink strip is to show support for the search for four-year-old Welsh schoolgirl April Jones.

Entrance to the game is £8 and £5 for concessions.

HAWKS: Thomas, Newton, Page, Harris, Hinshelwood, Ryan, Kabba, Moss, Jones, Bailey, Ramsey, Nanetti, Palmer, Pegler