Hawks boss: Let’s show we mean business

Hawks striker Shamir Mullings. Picture: Paul Jacobs (160012-3)
Hawks striker Shamir Mullings. Picture: Paul Jacobs (160012-3)
Dave Carter. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Lee Bradbury accepts relegation-battling Hawks will need to dig deep as they head into games against the top two sides in National League South.

Second-placed Maidstone United are first up at Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm).

And they are followed by a long trip to league leaders Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night.

It is going to take all the Hawks’ resolve if they are to improve their position at the bottom of the league.

They can’t afford to surrender the initiative like they did in the midweek draw against fellow strugglers Bath City.

The Hawks looked certain to pick up three valuable points only to throw two of them away in stoppage-time.

The last-gasp goal prevented the Westleigh Park outfit from moving out of the bottom three and now they must do it the hard way.

Boss Bradbury said: ‘We have to show we mean business in the next couple of games.

‘It is going to be tough but we have to remain positive and keep going at it.

‘We lost narrowly at Maidstone earlier in the season and they are a difficult team to break down.

‘They are a no-nonsense team who defend first and foremost and don’t concede many goals.

‘Away from home they have nicked a lot of 1-0 wins this season.

‘We have to make sure we stay in the game and try to come away with a win.’

If they are to surprise their high-flying visitors, the Hawks will need to take their chances.

Against Bath City, Bradbury’s team dominated much of the first half but missed a series of opportunities to kill the game off.

Striker Shamir Mullings caused the visiting defenders problems all night with his physical presence without ever looking like scoring.

But it was the substitution of the big striker 20 minutes from the end that seemed to hand Bath the initiative.

From that point, the Hawks didn’t have anyone to hold the ball up front.

Bradbury’s team were pushed back and eventually the pressure told.

The Hawks boss added: ‘We have done reasonably well against teams at the top.

‘We have to see the next couple of games as an opportunity for us to send out a message to our rivals.

‘The players were devastated to concede late on in midweek and I am hoping that will push them into another good performance.

‘I feel a bit for them because I couldn’t fault their effort.

‘The players won’t need lifting and will definitely be up for the game after the disappointment of dropping two important points.’

Bradbury will be without Warren Cummings and Brian Dutton who are still ruled out by injury.

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Molyneaux, Hill, Medway, Stock, Donnelly, Ciardini, Lewis, Swallow, Mullings, Blanchett, Paterson, Hayter, Thomson, Cain